Virginia Construction Lawyer

Construction Law Musings Turns 9!

Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia) It was 9 years ago today that I announced the creation of Construction Law Musings with two lines, no picture and some vague idea that I wanted to share my thoughts and insights into Virginia construction law. Back in 2008, Musings was on the Blogger platform, my kids were much younger (they’re now a junior at WVU, a freshman at Appalachian State University, and a freshman in high school!), and I had yet to start my solo construction practice. Needless to say a lot has changed since then. Over that 9 years, I’ve tried to keep up with the changing landscape of construction law and, hopefully, shared a few things that you, the readers, find interesting. Some interesting if possibly contradictory mechanic’s lien cases were decided, along with a case finding another potential exception to the economic loss rule. These are just a couple of the construction law related developments over the past year. This past year has been a busy, productive and fu..

Construction and Green Building Roundup

Originally posted 2013-03-29 09:00:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter Image via Wikipedia Over the past week or so, several great pieces have been written across the web relating to green building and other construction industry related topics. Without re-hashing the great analysis found in those articles, I thought that it would be helpful to point them out. On the green building front, the International Green Construction Code or IGCC (2.0) was introduced at Green Build to much debate and acclaim. As pointed out by my friend and fellow LEED AP construction attorney, Doug Reiser (@douglasreiser) in his Builder’s Counsel Blog, several states and municipalities have adopted this construction code. Whether you agree or disagree with this move, it is time to get educated on this development and how it could affect your business going forward. To do so, check out the webinar and audio at Chris Cheatham’s (@chrischeatham) Green Building Law Update for some great analysis. Chris also h..

July 1, 2015 Statutory Changes Affecting Virginia Contractors and Subcontractors

Originally posted 2015-06-01 09:00:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter Virginia General Assembly (Photo credit: Wikipedia) As always seems to be the case, this year, as in others, the Virginia General Assembly has seen fit to “tweak” a few construction related statutes. All of these changes will go into effect on July 1, 2015. The big one, and one that I posted about a while back is the change to the Virginia mechanic’s lien statute to prohibit contractual waiver of lien, payment bond or claims for additional costs prior to the furnishing of labor or materials. This one is big because it relieves a bit of the angst in the pre-contract negotiations between subcontractors and general contractors. Another significant change, this one to the wording of Virginia Code 2.2-4309, found in House Bill 1628, clarifies the fact that this Virginia statute does not limit the amount a government contractor may claim or recover against a public body under a contract dispute. This is a big one cons..

Humbled by Year 11 in the Virginia Business Legal Elite

Thank you, once again, to the Virginia legal community that continues to elect me to the Virginia Business Legal Elite. The eleven years in a row of election to the Legal Elite in the Construction Category spans my time at my prior firm and my time as a solo construction attorney. The fact that you all have continued to elect “100%” of the lawyers at The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill, PC for the last 11 years is most gratifying. For the complete list of the great Virginia construction lawyers that were elected along with me, see the 2017 Virginia Business Legal Elite in Construction Law. So without further ado, thank you to all of you who voted for me. I truly appreciate your continued confidence and support of my construction law practice. Your yearly votes always prod me to learn and continually improve to meet your expectations and keep my practice at this high level. I also couldn’t do this without the great support from friends and family (not to mention clients), so thanks a..

Construction Change Order Provisions- Sword and Shield?

Originally posted 2013-09-30 14:03:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter Image via Wikipedia A recent case brought to my attention by Melissa Brumback (@melissabrumback) of the Construction Law in North Carolina Blog reminded me of the necessity to both include change order provisions in your construction contracts and to follow them. In the case of Artistic Stone v. Safeco in the Norfolk, VA Federal Court (linked from and thoroughly discussed in Melissa’s great post here), the court refused to let a claim for extra work proceed where the plaintiff failed to properly follow the written change order requirements of the contract. I look at the Artistic Stone case as a good reminder to read and follow the provisions of the construction contract documents governing the construction project on which you are working. It is also a reminder that courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia will strictly construe and enforce those written provisions. The assistance of an experienced construction a..

When is a Residential Subcontractor not Subject to the VCPA? Read to Find Out

English: Contractor-led design-build, architect as subcontractor (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The Virginia Consumer Protection Act (VCPA) can and often does apply to residential construction. The transaction between a residential contractor and an homeowner has been held to fall under the consumer transaction language of the VCPA and on occasion been used to avoid the issues with the economic loss doctrine in Virginia. However, there are limits to how far down the contractual chain the VCPA applies, particularly in the case where a supplier or subcontractor does not provide the services or materials for a personal, consumer purpose. An example of this fact is found in the case of Johnston v. Stephan. In that case, a couple hired a general contractor to build a home and the general contractor hired Cole Roofing System, Inc. to provide the roof of the home. The first couple subsequently sold the home and the second homeowners sought further work on the roof from Cole Roofing. After Cole Ro..

Continuing the ADR Discussion at ALPS 411

Originally posted 2013-09-26 10:30:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter This is alternative dispute resolution (ADR) week here at Construction Law Musings. Monday’s post was a primer on two popular ADR methods and now, I’ve got another post at the great ALPS411 Blog. The post explores whether you, as a construction pro, would want a mandatory arbitration clause in your construction contract. Here’s an excerpt. Arbitration (or “private court”) is an alternative to litigation that results in a decision from a private party (or parties) who determine the outcome of a dispute is much the same way as a court would. Arbitration and its procedures in a particular case are determined by contract, either directly or indirectly (by reference to a set of rule set forth by another organization or group; for example, the American Arbitration Association). For more, check out my full thoughts over at ALPS411. Once you’ve read the post, either comment over there or come back here and let me know y..

Start the New Year Right for Safety

Originally posted 2013-01-14 10:48:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter Painted relief map of the state of Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) As 2013 dawns, it is always a good time to reflect and refocus on some of the keys to keeping a well run construction business going. One of these keys is assuring that your company stays out of the cross hairs of the good folks at OSHA and VOSH. Keeping up with the various federal regulations (my checklists on OSHA and the construction industry standards can help) and Virginia’s unique standards is a must. These standards are tweaked occasionally so be sure to regularly review them. However, as I was reminded by a quick reading of the new, and already informative Virginia OSHA Law News, authored by some good friends (whom you can follow @VaConstrLawyers), even the best prepared Virginia construction companies can end up getting a citation because of the fact that Murphy was an optimist. No matter how well prepared, trained and rule compliant ..

A Great Time at the 38th Annual Construction and Public Contracts Law Seminar

English: This is a locator map showing Charlottesville in Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the 38th Annual Construction and Public Contracts Law Seminar at the Boar’s Head in in Charlottesville, Virginia. It seems like not that long ago I was going to my first of these in 2008! This year, like last, I had a great time planning the seminar and in the process meeting many of the great speakers that provided their insights into topics from gun safety at the workplace to employment facts every contractor should know to the basics of performance bonds. All in all, this “grab bag” of topics seemed to provide something for everyone, whether an experienced construction attorney or someone new to construction law. Aside from the great information that was provided (not to mention the full compliment of MCLE credits necessary for the 2017-18 bar year here in VA), the various events and opportunities to meet with other construction law practi..

The Last Mile in Construction Innovation

Originally posted 2012-06-22 09:00:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter For this week’s Guest Post Friday here at Construction Law Musings, we welcome back, Brian L. Hill. Brian helps others to achieve more from less through business development, digital media and construction consulting. A fourth generation construction/real estate professional, he shares his passion for pursuing quality in the built environment at Always on the search for quality content, if you are a professional in the A/E/C industry, consider writing for For more information about Brian, visit Thanks again to Chris for inviting me to write for this blog. As always, it is both an honor and a challenge. In the tech world, there is a term used by pundits and professionals alike: The Last Mile. It refers to the final leg of connection between a service provider and customer. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecommunication companies have been challenged to bri..

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