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This blog focuses on real estate, land use and construction-related topics affecting Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. With topics ranging from contract drafting and negotiation to local and regional land use project updates, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman provide timely insight and commentary on the issues affecting owners, builders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and other players in the industry. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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  • Posts by Timothy Hughes
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    Timothy Hughes is the managing shareholder of Bean, Kinney & Korman. He also represents clients in construction and commercial litigation, as well as corporate, contracts and general business matters. With over 20 years ...

I am often asked, “What are the basic steps of starting a construction company?” We help with many of these steps, but we also advise clients how to do it on their own. Here are some of the basic steps.

1. Create Your Entity

 Given the threat of personal injuries and property damages, construction contractors and subcontractors really should create an entity to do their work as opposed to acting as a sole proprietor. The Virginia State Corporation Commission website has a wealth of information, including links to entity formation, forms for both corporate and limited liability company (LLC) filings, and instructions for filing. For a modest fee, you can create your entity with the SCC.

December 16, 2013
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Topics Contracts

Most contract negotiations boil down to several key terms.  For construction contractors, these are five critical items that you need to carefully consider and negotiate in each of your agreements.

I.  What is the Scope?

The starting place of a construction contract is the work to be performed.  Remarkably, this is often poorly or inconsistently defined.  Contractors should strive for a clear definition of what are the “contract documents” and what portion of the work is the responsibility of that contractor.

The question of exactly what triggers a requirement for a contractor’s license comes up frequently in my practice.  Like many other things in the law, the answer is not particularly clear and can be somewhat circular.  Still, there are some practical signposts that provide definition and allow for some risk analysis.

WhatA Virginia federal court has ruled that by proactively replacing defective drywall rather than waiting to get sued and found liable, a contractor was left without liability insurance coverage. This decision should send shivers down the spine of not just contractors, but also owners and developers.

The builder, Dragas Management, built 70 houses in the Tidewater Virginia area with Chinese drywall. After it received multiple reports of health symptoms and property damages, Dragas filed claims on multiple liability and umbrella insurance policies. It also stated in writing to the carriers that it was planning on beginning a remediation protocol and forwarded the same to the carriers. Four home owners filed suit against Dragas and later voluntarily dismissed the cases based on the remediation protocol.

Pest ControlA decision issued this month by the Supreme Court of Virginia, Kaltman v All American Pest, answers a question often debated by Virginia lawyers regarding the economic loss rule.  The case also may contain a hidden Trojan horse to contract defenses that everyone should pay attention to.

We delve into a more legal, technical and lengthy post this week for a good reason — a recent decision from a Virginia trial court (PDF of decision) points to a new avenue for claims by buyers of real estate in Virginia.

Virginia General AssemblyVirginia's General Assembly has passed a bill that, among other things, raises the upper limit of cases that may be filed in the General District Court.  This increase will potentially make it easier to try certain matters more cost effectively moving forward.

February 10, 2011
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Topics Green

In October 2010, Henry Gifford filed a lawsuit against USGBC alleging misrepresentation claims against USGBC and some of its individual founders regarding its LEED rating system. The crux of the suit centers on Gifford’s claims that USGBC and the LEED green building rating system makes false promises about energy performance of LEED buildings. The original complaint named Rick Fedrizzi, Rob Watson and other individuals as defendants, included misrepresentation style claims, and also included monopolization anti-trust based claims.

HammerArlington County has been widely criticized for its aggressive lawsuit over the proposed Interstate 395 HOT lanes expansion, which includes allegations that individual state and federal officials committed civil rights violations in approving the project. In a time of significant economic troubles and governmental budget challenges, the county has reportedly paid over $1 million in legal fees advancing this case.

Chesapeake Bay BridgeLast week EPA issued its "pollution diet" for the Chesapeake Bay. The total maximum daily load (TDML) of various materials is established by EPA in the diet and includes a 25% reduction in nitrogen, a 24% reduction in phosphorous, and a 20% reduction in sediment according to Engineering News Record (subscription only). The plan also includes annual total watershed limits.