This book was written primarily as a teaching text for senior students in baccalaureate university programs in construction engineering or construction management who plan careers in the contracting or construction management segments of the industry. It should also serve as a useful reference for the younger, less-experienced person in construction contracting or construction management organizations as well as owners of small contracting firms or related businesses. The material, drawn from various sources, has been organized and presented in the light of the writer’s many years in the industry and 13 years’ experience in teaching construction management courses at California State University, Chico.
I am not a lawyer, and this book does not purport to offer legal advice. A competent construction attorney should always be sought for that purpose. This book does, however, furnish practical guidance for construction practitioners in typical everyday situations empirically by examination of the more common case law holdings and the customs and practices of the industry.
The field of construction law is so broad that difficult choices must be made in deciding what to include in a text primarily intended for a single three-semester-hour university course. Accordingly, I have tailored the material to those areas that, in the light of my own experience, seem most fundamental, leaving such topics as claims preparation, presentation, and defense; damages quantification; and CPM scheduling techniques, and the like to the authors of the many excellent specialized texts on these subjects available today. Similarly, I have excluded detailed discussion of mechanic lien laws and similar topics that vary widely from state to state.
The Table of Contents should provide the reader an immediate referral to topics of particular interest. The key words and concepts used and developed in each chapter are listed in the beginning of the chapter. These should prove helpful as a study guide and to test recollection as the reader completes the chapter. Also, each chapter concludes with a series of questions and problems. The questions provide a direct opportunity for testing comprehension of the material. The problems have been designed to develop the reader’s understanding in the context of typical industry situations.
Many individuals have indirectly contributed to this book. They include Harvey Slocum, a legendary figure in heavy construction, who gave me my first job more than 50 years ago, and John Soult, Wallace Hunt, and Floyd Crawford (all now deceased) who furnished continual encouragement and support during my years at Fruin-Colnon Corporation. Also, extremely capable construction attorneys have skillfully guided me over the years and contributed to my understanding of legal matters. They include Harold Blasky, Esq., with both the law firms of Max E. Greenberg, Trayman, Cantor & Blasky and Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis; Overton Currie, Esq., Aubrey Currie, Esq., and Tom Kellerher, Esq., all with the law firm of Smith, Currie & Hancock; John Tracy, Esq., at various times with the law firms of Lewis, Mitchell, & Moore, Gadsby & Hanna, and Thompson & Waldron; Lewis Baker, Esq., with the law firm of Watt, Tieder & Hoffar; James Hawkins, Esq., Michael Wilson, Esq., and Larry Luber, Esq., all with Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale; and William McInerney, Esq., and Robert Leslie, Esq., with the law firm of McInerney and Dillon. In addition, I would like to thank Robert Leslie, who stole many hours from his busy schedule to review an early draft of the book and offered countless helpful criticisms and suggestions for improvement.
Finally, shared construction experiences with my many friends—engineers, owners, and contractors alike—have inevitably shaped the content of this book. These individuals will have no difficulty in recognizing much of themselves in its pages.
To all who have shared and influenced my life in construction, named and not named, I am profoundly grateful. This book is my offer of thanks—by the means of passing on to young people today, with their careers ahead of them, what we collectively learned and wish we had known when we were their age.
Stuart H. Bartholomew