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For the contractor, the owner, the architect/engineer, and the lawyer.


The law, if properly recognized, understood and applied, can be an ally, not an enemy. That's what this course is all about.

The course's purpose is to instruct you in the law's realistic application to your construction operations. It endeavors to show you the factors that must be considered at every stage of the construction process, factors that can help you, that can further your objectives, and those that can harm you, and how the law can shield you from such harm.

To do this, we have commissioned two specialists in construction law. They are professionals who work, day in and day out, with construction contractors and, most importantly, professionals who know what can and can't be done about it all.


We offer the program in concentrated form: two days of hard work by both you and the instructors. We offer it in the belief that it will make you aware of the law's value as a partner in your business.


Dates and Locations

This course will be scheduled soon. Please enter your information below to receive a notification when the class is scheduled.

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9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


  1. Qualifying to Do Business
    1. Local vs. Out-of-State Corporation
    2. Registration in New State
    3. Joint Venture Considerations
    4. Business Licenses
    5. Sales and Use Taxes
    6. Consequences of Failure to Comply
    7. Cures for Failure to Comply

  2. Types of Contracts
    1. Fixed-Price Competitively Bid
    2. Unit-Price Competitively Bid
    3. Cost-Plus Negotiated
    4. Limited-Cost-Plus Negotiated
    5. Design and Build
    6. Turnkey
    7. Construction Management

  3. Bidding on Private Work
    1. Analyzing the Bid Invitation
    2. What to Look For and Out For
    3. “Information” Invitations
    4. Problem of Missing Elements
    5. Evaluation Standards-Price and Others
    6. Owner Rejection of All Bids
    7. Strict Bidding, Negotiation and Mixtures

  4. Bidding on Public Work
    1. The “Low Bidder” Statutes
    2. Responsiveness of Bid
    3. Alternates in Invitations and Bids
    4. Variations in Public Procedures
    5. Politics, Influence, Ethics . . .Trouble

  5. Mistakes in Bidding
    1. What Can Happen
    2. Bidder’s Unilateral Mistakes
    3. Bidder-Owner Mutual Mistakes
    4. Procedures for Relief
    5. Types of Remedies

  6. Bid Bonds
    1. Bond Types and Terms
    2. Other Forms of Security
    3. Use in Private Work
    4. Use in Public Work
    5. Liability and Defenses

  7. Payment and Performance Bonds
    1. Standard Bond Forms
    2. Scope of Coverage
    3. Who Eecovers and How
    4. Contractor Defenses to Liability
    5. Surety Defenses to Liability
    6. Rights of the Surety
    7. Indemnity Provisions

  8. Standard Contract Forms
    1. Owner-Architect: AIA
    2. Owner-Engineer: NSPE
    3. Architect-Engineer: AIA and NSPE
    4. Architect-Contractor: AGC
    5. Owner-Contractor: AIA, NSPE and AGC
    6. Contractor-Subcontractor: AIA
    7. Construction Management: AIA and AGC
    8. State & Municipal Provisions
    9. Similarities and Differences in Forms
    10. What to See and What to Avoid

  9. Uniform Commercial Code
    1. What Is It
    2. Application to Construction Work
    3. Application to Equipment
    4. Application to Subcontracts
    5. Avoiding the Code
    6. Effect on Contract Formation
    7. Effect on Contract Terms
    8. Unconscionability
    9. Commercial Impracticability
    10. Validity of Liability Disclaimers
    11. Warranties

  10. Interpreting the Contract
    1. Rules of Interpretation
    2. Contract’s “Four Corners”
    3. Parties’ Intent
    4. Concurrent Interpretation
    5. Custom and Usage
    6. Technical Terms
    7. Grammatical Errors
    8. Specific vs. General
    9. Mention One/Exclude Others
    10. Reasonable and Consistent Analysis
    11. Avoiding Useless Performance
    12. Contract as a Whole
    13. Interpretation Against Drafter
    14. Evidence Outside the Contract
    15. Implied Terms

  11. Authority and Responsibility
    1. Actual and Apparent Authority
    2. Who Can Bind Whom
    3. Owner/Architect/Contractor Representatives
    4. Contract Interpretation Authority
    5. Authority to Order Performance
    6. Ordering Contract Changes
    7. Prescribing Authority Limits
    8. Preventing Unauthorized Acts
    9. Owner/Architect Supervision, Coordination and Cooperation
    10. Failure to Enforce Contract

  12. Contract Changes
    1. Owner’s Right to Change Work
    2. Contractor’s Duty to Perform
    3. Owner/Contractor Agree Changes
    4. Owner’s Unilateral Change Orders
    5. The “Constructive” Change
    6. Defective Plans and Specifications
    7. Erroneous Interpretation
    8. Higher Standard of Work
    9. Improper Rejection
    10. Dictating Performance Methods
    11. Impossibility/Impracticability
    12. Contractor’s Protest Before Performance
    13. Remedies

  13. Changed (Differing Site) Conditions
    1. Pre-Bid and Post-Bid Conditions
    2. Physical and Non-Physical Conditions
    3. Man-Made Conditions
    4. Conditions Below Ground
    5. Latent Above-Ground Conditions
    6. Owner’s Fraud; Concealment
    7. Owner’s Innocent Misrepresentation
    8. Site Investigation and Other Inquiry
    9. Reliance on Owner’s Data
    10. Notice by Contractor
    11. Contractor Duty to Perform
    12. Remedies

  14. Delays and Acceleration
    1. Scheduling Techniques
    2. Agreement on the Schedule
    3. Schedule Revisions
    4. Notice of Delays
    5. Unexcusable Delays
    6. Damages for Delay
    7. Excusable Delays
    8. Suspensions of Work
    9. Time Extensions
    10. Dollar Recovery
    11. Elements of Acceleration
    12. Recovery for Acceleration

  15. Calculating Damages
    1. Basic Principles of Recovery
    2. Damages Aspects of Changes, Changed Conditions, Delays, Aacceleration
    3. Labor Costs
    4. Material Costs
    5. Equipment Costs
    6. Other Direct Costs
    7. Inefficiency Factors
    8. Disruption Costs
    9. Costs of Unchanged Work
    10. Field Overhead
    11. Home Office Overhead
    12. Extended Overhead
    13. Loss of Business
    14. Loss of Bonding Capacity
    15. Profit

  16. Subcontract Provisions
    1. Tying Subcontractor to Contractor’s Liability
    2. Flow-Down Clauses
    3. Scope of Work Clauses
    4. Modification Clauses
    5. Payment Clauses
    6. Indemnity Clauses
    7. Default Clauses
    8. Disputes Clauses
    9. Special Provisions

  17. Subcontract Administration
    1. Bid Shopping Risks
    2. Subcontractor's Bid withdrawal
    3. Firms Subcontractor Bids
    4. Subcontractor's Obligations
    5. Monitoring Sub's Performance
    6. Contractor’s Coordination Duty
    7. Contractor’s Cooperation
    8. Subcontractor's Access to Site
    9. Job Site Conditions
    10. Disputes Between Subcontractors

  18. Subcontractor Defaults
    1. Assistance to Defaulting
    2. Financing the Subcontractor
    3. Reletting Subcontractor's Work
    4. Sub's Performance Bond Surety
    5. Notice and Demand on Surety
    6. Surety Defenses
    7. Irresponsible Sureties
    8. Payments to Sub-subs,Suppliers
    9. Monitoring Sub’s Payments
    10. Contractor’s Direct Payments
    11. Avoiding “Double Payments”
    12. Lien and Bond Releases
    13. Sub’s Payment Bond Surety

  19. Owner Inspection and Acceptance
    1. Formal Acceptance
    2. Punch-List Problems
    3. Implied Acceptance
    4. Acceptance of Defective Work
    5. Effect of Failure to Reject
    6. Impact of Interpretations
    7. Certificate of Final Completion
    8. “Substantial Performance” Doctrine
    9. “Economic Waste” Principle

  20. Contractor Warranties
    1. Workmanship Warranties
    2. Construction Warranties
    3. Analysis of Warranty Clauses
    4. Major and Minor Coverage
    5. Implied Warranties
    6. Proof of Warranty Breach
    7. Owner’s Waiver of Warranty

  21. The Sick Owner
    1. Payment Problems
    2. Bankruptcy of Owner
    3. Rights Against Construction Lender
    4. Lender’s “Inducements”
    5. Preventing Foreclosure
    6. Creditor’s Rights
    7. Practical Bail-Out Possibilities

  22. Preparation of Claims
    1. Documentation Systems
    2. Daily Logs
    3. Use of Tape Recorders
    4. Polaroid Photos
    5. Notices, Letters and Memos
    6. Experts
    7. Charts and Graphs
    8. Models and Samples
    9. Coordinating Visual Aids
    10. Your Lawyer-When and How

  23. Negotiating Settlements
    1. When to Negotiate
    2. How to Prepare
    3. Selecting Your Team
    4. Analyzing the Opposition
    5. Negotiation Techniques
    6. Morals and Manners
    7. Last Ditch Positions
    8. Memorandum of Agreement

  24. Arbitration of Disputes
    1. Owners/Subs/Other Primes Disputes
    2. Federal Arbitration Act
    3. State Arbitration Statutes
    4. Common Law Arbitration
    5. Contract Arbitration Clauses
    6. Arbitration Procedures
    7. Enforcement and Challenge of Award
    8. Effect on Continuing Performance
    9. Waiver of Arbitration Rights
    10. Disadvantages of Arbitration

  25. Relief in the Courts
    1. Federal and State Courts
    2. Where to Go
    3. Lien Rights and Limitations
    4. Jury or Non-Jury Trial
    5. The Discovery Tool
    6. Presenting the Evidence
    7. Practical Considerations
    8. Types and Extent of Relief


Mr. Thum is a Partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.  He has specialized in construction and engineering law since 1974, providing contract advice and dispute resolution services to owners (public and private), general contractors, engineers and major trade subcontractors. He has handled a wide variety of cases involving major infrastructure projects (dams, highways and bridges, power plants, rail, airports and water treatment plants), as well as refineries, industrial plants, hospitals, schools, and high-rise buildings. He has provided troubled-project counselling to owners and contractors during the construction of power plants, rail and airport projects, refineries and industrial plants. He negotiated the contract documents for the largest hospital project (using Lean project delivery) and has litigated the two of the largest hospital disputes in California history. Mr. Thum is a member of the American Arbitration Association's National Panel of Construction Arbitrators. For over 20 years he has participated in Alternative Dispute Resolution of construction disputes, and has mediated many cases to settlement. Mr. Thum has published widely on construction law topics, including contract interpretation, scheduling, productivity and damage calculation. He has been invited to speak to numerous national industry groups on on construction law and ADR, including Federal Publications, Project Management Institute, Associated General Contractors, American Association of Airport Executives, Construction Litigation Superconference, Forum Committee on the Construction Industry, American Arbitration Association, Practicing Law Insitute and California Continuing Education of the Bar.

Mr. Thum is a member of the team awarded the 2008 and 2010 Chambers USA Awards in Excellence in Construction. This award recognizes the best construction firm in the United States based on evaluation in technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by clients.  He has also been recognized individually for his work in construction law by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who Legal, California Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, and Southern California and Northern California Super Lawyers.

Mr. Thum is an honors graduate of Princeton University, and received his JD from The Cornell Law School, where he was Editor of the Cornell Law Journal.  He served as a Captain in the Judge Advocate Division, U.S. Marine Corps.

Lee Davis,
of Atlanta, Georgia, is a Partner in the firm of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, limiting his practice to construction law and the resolution of construction disputes. Mr. Davis is involved in the negotiation, mediation, arbitration and trial of construction matters for his clients throughout the nation and internationally, representing contractors, subcontractors, owners and design professionals.

Mr. Davis graduated magna cum laude from Williams College, where he was selected for membership in the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society. He then attended Emory University School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of Barristers, the Moot Court Special Teams and the Moot Court Labor Law Team coach. He has lectured extensively on construction law throughout the United States and abroad, including lectures and seminars at Colorado State University, The American Law Center in Moscow and the Masters Institute on Construction Contracting (for Federal Publications), and has given lectures and seminars on Practical Construction Law (for Federal Publications), Architect-Engineer Liability and Construction Claims.

Certificates of Completion are provided to all seminar participants who attend Federal Publications Seminars courses following the event, upon request.
All Federal Publications Seminars courses meet the course requirements of the National Contract Management Association’s certification programs. We are a proud Education Partner of the NCMA.
Federal Publications Seminars is part of West Professional Development, which is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have the final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:
This Program is eligible for: 13.0 (CPE) hours of credit
Program Level: Basic
Program Prerequisite: None
Advance Preparation: None
Method: Group-Live
Defense Acquisition Workforce members must acquire 80 Continuous Learning Points (CLP) every two years from the date of entry into the acquisition workforce for as long as the member remains in an acquisition position per DoD Instruction 5000.66. We will provide you with documentation of points awarded for completing the event.
This Program is eligible for: 11.0 (CLP) hours of credit
States have widely varying regulations regarding MCLE credit. LegalEdcenter is an approved provider in AL, AK, AR, CA, GA, IL, ME, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VI, VT, WA, WI, and WV. Credit may be applied for in other jurisdictions on request and in accordance with state MCLE rules.
** Please note that because some states are changing their policy on CLE reporting, you will need to fill out the request for credit from Federal Publications Seminars within 10 business days, or we may not be able to issue credits for the program.
This Program is eligible for: 11.0 (60 minutes), 13.0 (50 minutes)
Basic or fundamental subject matter is covered. Courses are geared to general knowledge or can be taken as a refresher.
Specific topics or issues within a topic area are covered. Students should be familiar with terms of art and general concepts concerning the course topic.
Workshops and class discussions cover specific subject matter in-depth, and participation is strongly encouraged. Attendees should have at least 2-3 years' experience in the area of study.
Courses build upon students' knowledge and experience, and cover complex issues within the subject matter. Should have 4-5 years' mastery of subject for in-depth analysis.
Masters-level programs designed for professionals with 5+ years' experience. Courses cover in-depth and technical analysis on specific subjects and updates on current issues.
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Practical Construction Law
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