Vermont Board Approves Mandatory Continuing Education Requirement, by Arthur Schwartz

Professional engineers licensed in Vermont will now be mandated to earn 30 professional development hours every two years for license renewal. The new rules became effective on August 1, and the first renewal period begins August 2018. Licensees will need to obtain a minimum of 15 PDHs to renew during this period. The Vermont Board […]

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The Wyoming and Nevada Licensing Boards Signed a First-of-its-Kind Mobility Agreement for Professional Engineers, by Arthur Schwartz

The Wyoming and Nevada licensing boards have signed a first-of-its-kind pact in which a Professional Engineers in one state can be accepted as a PE in the other. The boards signed the agreement in August at the annual meeting of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Under the agreement, an NCEES Model […]

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Dismissal of differing site conditions claim on federal dam project. ASI Constructors, Inc., v. United States of America. United States Court of Federal Claims (2016), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: The contractor on a project to modify and improve the Canton Lake Dam in Oklahoma claimed that it had encountered site conditions that differed from those shown in the contract documents, and that the Corps had withheld relevant site information. After the project’s contracting officer denied the claims, which totaled approximately $6.6 million, the […]

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Owner’s entitlement to reject bid as non-responsive based on bidder’s failure to cite a prior successful project of similar size, scope, and complexity. Matter of Framan Mechanical, Inc. v. State University Construction Fund. New York Appellate Division (2017), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: The State University Construction Fund sought bids for an HVAC upgrade project at the SUNY Downstate Medical Campus. The instructions to bidders required that each bidder demonstrate that it had successfully completed a project of similar size, scope, and complexity within the last five years. Framan Mechanical was the low bidder. In response to […]

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Enforcement of limitation of liability clause in geotechnical engineering contract. Taylor Morrison of Colorado, Inc., v. Terracon Consultants, Inc. Court of Appeals of Colorado (2017), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: A residential developer, Taylor Morrison, retained Terracon Consultants to provide geotechnical engineering and testing services with respect to a new subdivision. In particular, Terracon was responsible for testing the soil for compliance with construction specifications and building codes. After construction of the houses in the subdivision, many homeowners complained to the developer that the […]

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Owner’s implied warranty of drawings and specifications under Missouri law. Penzel Construction Company, Inc., v. Jackson R-2 School District. Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District (2017), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: Under the Spearin doctrine, now approaching its centennial, a public owner makes an implied warranty in every  construction contract that the government’s drawings and specifications are adequate for the contractor to perform the work required by the contract. Originally a federal legal principle, the Spearin doctrine has been followed or adopted in most jurisdictions […]

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Contractor’s right to cure before being terminated for cause. Milton Regional Sewer Authority v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (2016), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: The contractor on a public works project in Milton, Pennsylvania, struggled to perform adequately in the early stages of the work. The frustrated owner suspended the work, and in response the contractor offered in writing to correct any failures in the work. The owner declined that offer and instead terminated the contract for cause, […]

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Does termination for convenience preclude the owner from entitlement to liquidated damages? Old Colony Construction LLC v. Town of Southington. Supreme Court of Connecticut (2015), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: A termination for convenience typically results in the contractor walking away from the project with payment for work rendered, and no concerns about further liability to the owner. The EJCDC standard termination for  convenience clause does not mandate the freedom from further liability; to the contrary it intentionally reserves Owner’s other rights and remedies. […]

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Owner’s right to withhold retainage during dispute. FTR International, Inc. v. Rio School District. California Court of Appeals (2015), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: The contractor, FTR, constructed a school under a $7.34 million contract with the Rio School District. The contract required retainage of 10%. When the work was completed and the school opened for classes, the school district was holding $676,436 in retainage. According to the controlling California payment statute, the project owner is required to […]

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Structural engineer’s liability to homeowners’ association for structurally unsafe building. Pointe at Westport Harbor Homeowners’ Association v. Engineers Northwest, Inc. Court of Appeals of Washington (2016), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: Many states recognize some version of the economic loss rule, which provides that losses that are merely economic in nature must be recovered in a breach of contract action, not in tort (negligence). Breach of contract claims generally require a direct contractual relationship between the two parties. The common adjunct to the economic loss […]

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