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26Episodes
Education

Podcast of the American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law

Episodes

Here is Part 2 of our podcast on the AIA Contract Documents hosted by David Suchar. Part 1 of this series is found at Episode 19. Our guest in both episodes is James “Jimmy” Germano, Manager and Counsel for the AIA Contract Documents. Jimmy tells us in this episode about the AIA’s contract drafting philosophy and the impact of current construction trends on the Contract Documents. Topics include the influence of COVID-19, proliferation of Design Build and Delegated Design, increasing complexity of insurance arrangements, Prefabricated Construction, advancements in Building Information Modeling practice, and discussion of how the Contract Documents are being updated as a result.

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In Episode 23 of the podcast, we took our first look at one of the issues arising from the Champlain Towers collapse in Southern Florida. The subject of that podcast was building code enforcement.  As further investigation into the disaster continues, more information is coming out about the condition of the building and the Homeowners Association’s efforts to deal with the building’s maintenance issues and to pay for the extensive needed repairs.  This likely very common situation gives rise to the multifaceted issue of condominium governance, especially as these buildings age.  Today we speak with Evan McKenzie, a professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, a prominent authority on how these private governmental bodies attempt to meet the needs of the buildings that they operate and the residents they serve. This is a fascinating and complex subject that will undoubtedly attract the attention of construction lawyers now and in the future. 

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Many of our clients will bid on federal projects, and may have claims relating to these projects. This is especially true given the recent passage of the Biden administration’s infrastructure package. In this podcast we speak with two skilled and experienced federal contracting lawyers from the Oles Morrison law firm in Seattle Washington. Join me, Doug Oles and Howard Roth for an interesting and enlightening broad-based look at the Federal contracting and claims processes. 

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On Thursday, June 24, 2021, Champlain Towers South, a 12 story residential condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Florida collapsed killing 98 people. The incident is one of the greatest losses of life caused by a construction failure in the history of the United States.  There are numerous questions about what happened and why. Understandably, the matter is now the subject of extensive litigation. One fact that is known is that the structure met all applicable building codes in effect when the construction was completed. Join us for an instructive and interesting interview with Linda Pieczynski, noted author, instructor and former prosecutor of building code violations in a discussion of how and when building codes are enforced and the impacts and limitations of these codes in assuring safe construction.

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The ABA Forum on Construction Law is a prolific producer and publisher of books on construction law.  In this episode we meet with the editors of a brand new edition entitled: “Design Professionals Guide to Construction Law.” Construction lawyers Matt Ninneman,  Buck Beltzer and Mark Mercante discuss the background and content of the book as well as some of the key current legal issues that can impact design professionals. Join us for an interview that is sure to be of interest to architects and other designers, and the lawyers who represent them. 

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Many construction contracts contain binding arbitration provisions and as a result, the arbitration process continues to be an important topic for all construction lawyers. This episode is a conversation with two preeminent arbitrators, John Hinchey and Laura Abrahamson, both with the JAMS Organization.  Each has remarkable experience in the field and share their respective thinking on current trends, developing processes, and what works, and why. They add some keen insight on what domestic arbitration procedures might take from international practices.  My discussion with John and Laura should be interesting and informative to those involved in all aspects of the construction arbitration practice. 

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In March, 2021 three experienced black  construction lawyers were interviewed in a program at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Construction Lawyers.  Barbara Werther, a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers, conducted the interview.  It is an important and thought-provoking discussion.  In this episode I talk with Barbara about her presentation and, immediately following, the entire interview is reproduced in our podcast.  The perspectives of these lawyers provide remarkable insight into several diversity and inclusion issues.  

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The American Institute of Architects has been creating and disseminating all kinds of construction contracts for more than 120 years. These documents have become an integral part of the way lawyers, owners and contactors think about construction deals. In this podcast we talk with James “Jimmy” Germano, Manager and Counsel for the AIA Contract Documents. Jimmy tells us about the background of the AIA, the structure of the document system, how the documents are revised and updated, and where the AIA headed.  It is an interesting, fun and informative discussion. 

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Modular and prefabricated construction techniques are becoming increasingly popular in a variety of applications. Lee Davis from the law firm of Eversheds Sutherland in Atlanta, Georgia explains some of the key legal issues that arise in this area. This is an evolving field with many complex, and sometimes surprising matters to consider. This is an excellent primer to become acquainted with these new and challenging ideas.

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In this episode I talk with Andy Ness of JAMS in Washington D.C. about Neutral Case Evaluation.  Andy, a well know construction mediator and arbitrator, explains how this technique can be used to help resolve complex disputes. It is an interesting and informative discussion on another form of alternative dispute resolution that is growing in use. 

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