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    Seattle, Washington

    Washington Builders Right To Repair Current Law Summary:

    Current Law Summary: (SB 5536) The legislature passed a contractor protection bill that reduces contractors' exposure to lawsuits to six years from 12, and gives builders seven "affirmative defenses" to counter defect complaints from homeowners. Claimant must provide notice no later than 45 days before filing action; within 21 days of notice of claim, "construction professional" must serve response; claimant must accept or reject inspection proposal or settlement offer within 30 days; within 14 days following inspection, construction pro must serve written offer to remedy/compromise/settle; claimant can reject all offers; statutes of limitations are tolled until 60 days after period of time during which filing of action is barred under section 3 of the act. This law applies to single-family dwellings and condos.

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    A license is required for plumbing, and electrical trades. Businesses must register with the Secretary of State.

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    MBuilders Association of King & Snohomish Counties
    Local # 4955
    335 116th Ave SE
    Bellevue, WA 98004

    Seattle Washington Building Consultant 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Kitsap County
    Local # 4944
    5251 Auto Ctr Way
    Bremerton, WA 98312

    Seattle Washington Building Consultant 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Spokane
    Local # 4966
    5813 E 4th Ave Ste 201
    Spokane, WA 99212

    Seattle Washington Building Consultant 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of North Central
    Local # 4957
    PO Box 2065
    Wenatchee, WA 98801

    Seattle Washington Building Consultant 10/ 10

    MBuilders Association of Pierce County
    Local # 4977
    PO Box 1913 Suite 301
    Tacoma, WA 98401

    Seattle Washington Building Consultant 10/ 10

    North Peninsula Builders Association
    Local # 4927
    PO Box 748
    Port Angeles, WA 98362
    Seattle Washington Building Consultant 10/ 10

    Jefferson County Home Builders Association
    Local # 4947
    PO Box 1399
    Port Hadlock, WA 98339

    Seattle Washington Building Consultant 10/ 10

    Building Consultant News and Information
    For Seattle Washington

    Disputed Facts on Cause of Collapse Results in Denied Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment

    Construction Defects as Occurrences, Better Decided in Law than in Courts

    Despite Construction Gains, Cement Maker Sees Loss

    Harlem Developers Reach Deal with Attorney General

    Condominium Association Responsibility to Resolve Construction Defect Claims

    Defects in Texas High School Stadium Angers Residents

    Arbitrator May Use Own Discretion in Consolidating Construction Defect Cases

    Benefits and Pitfalls of Partnerships Between Companies

    President Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Requires a Viable Statutory Framework (PPP Statutes)[i]

    Hawaii Court Looks at Changes to Construction Defect Coverage after Changes in Law

    Struggling Astaldi Announces Defaults on Florida Highway Contracts

    New ANSI Requirements for Fireplace Screens

    Do We Really Want Courts Deciding if Our Construction Contracts are Fair?

    That’s Common Knowledge! Failure to Designate an Expert Witness in a Professional Negligence Case is Not Fatal Where “Common Knowledge” Exception Applies

    Timely Written Notice to Insurer and Cooperating with Insurer

    Client Alert: Naming of Known and Unknown Defendants in Initial Complaints: A Cautionary Tale

    Housing Agency Claims It Is Not a Party in Construction Defect Case

    Labor Shortage Confirmed Through AGC Poll

    U.S. Construction Value Flat at End of Summer

    Water Backup Payment Satisfies Insurer's Obligation to Cover for Rain Damage

    Appellate Court Reinforces When the Attorney-Client Relationship Ends for Purposes of “Continuous Representation” Tolling Provision of Legal Malpractice Statute of Limitations

    California Court of Appeal: Inserting The Phrase “Ongoing Operations” In An Additional Endorsement Is Not Enough to Preclude Coverage for Completed Operations

    Residential Construction: Shrinking Now, Growing Later?

    Iconic Seattle Center Arena Roof the Only Piece to Stay in $900-Million Rebuild

    AB 1701 – General Contractor Liability for Subcontractors’ Unpaid Wages

    Construction Defect Headaches Can Be Avoided

    Let it Shine: California Mandates Rooftop Solar for New Residential Construction

    Construction Executives Expect Improvements in the Year Ahead

    Largest Per Unit Settlement Ever in California Construction Defect Case?

    Amazon Feels the Heat From Hoverboard Fire Claims

    Contractor’s Coverage For Additional Insured Established by Unilateral Contract

    BHA has a Nice Swing Donates to CDCCF

    The Future of High-Rise is Localized and Responsive

    Account for the Imposition of Material Tariffs in your Construction Contract

    Contractor Sues Supplier over Defective Products

    Third Circuit Court of Appeals Concludes “Soup to Nuts” Policy Does Not Include Faulty Workmanship Coverage

    Creating a Custom Home Feature in the Great Outdoors

    Las Vegas HOA Conspiracy & Fraud Case Delayed Again

    Disaster Remediation Contracts: Understanding the Law to Avoid a Second Disaster

    High Court Could Alter Point-Source Discharge Definition in Taking Clean-Water Case

    Cuba: Construction Boom Potential for U.S. Construction Companies and Equipment Manufacturers?

    Indemnity Provision Provides Relief to Contractor; Additional Insured Provision Does Not

    Determination That Title Insurer Did Not Act in Bad Faith Vacated and Remanded

    Carolinas Storm Damage Tally Impeded by Lingering Floods

    Housing Starts in U.S. Drop to Lowest Level in Three Months

    Negligence Claim Not Barred by Gist of the Action Doctrine

    Philadelphia Voters to Consider Best Value Bid Procurment

    Landowners Try to Choke Off Casino's Water With 19th-Century Lawsuit

    Florida Governor Signs Construction Defect Amendments into Law

    Affordable Housing should not be Filled with Defects
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    The Seattle, Washington Building Consultant Group at BHA, leverages from the experience gained through more than 5,500 construction related expert witness designations encompassing a wide spectrum of construction related disputes. Drawing from this considerable body of experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to Seattle's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, as well as a variety of state and local government agencies.

    Building Consultant News & Info
    Seattle, Washington

    How Contractors Can Prevent Fraud in Their Workforce

    August 13, 2019 —
    The word fraud might conjure up images of Wall Street executives led out to police cars in cuffs, or sleazy conmen with slicked-back hair. While these ideas might be popular in movies and TV, and often in the news, many small and large businesses fall victim to fraud. Whether it’s a trusted site manager who needed a little extra cash to cover an unexpected bill or the accountant who’s been on board for years and has been slowly siphoning an extra paycheck through a ghost employee each month, fraud might be hitting businesses without them even knowing it. The construction industry is hardly immune to such schemes. According to the ACFE’s 2018 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, organizations lose an estimated 5% of their revenue each year to fraud. The median amount lost per instance of fraud was $130,000 across all industries, but fraud cases in the construction industry cost almost twice that much at $227,000 per fraud. They also last longer on average: fraud schemes in the construction industry continue for 24 months before being detected versus the overall median average of 16 months. The more time a scheme continues, the more money is lost for organizations. What types of fraud schemes are most common in the construction industry? The construction industry is more susceptible to certain types of fraud than other industries due to the nature of the work. The companies may be smaller in size leading to fewer resources to combat fraud and more trust among employees. Also, construction companies inherently deal with many vendors, subcontractors, bidding organizations and other various third parties, which can all pose fraud risks. Reprinted courtesy of Sarah Hofmann, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved. Read the court decision
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    Colorado Trench Collapse Kills Two

    July 30, 2019 —
    Federal safety officials are investigating the April 16 collapse of a trench that killed two construction workers in northern Colorado. The two men—Cristopher Lee Ramirez, 26, and Jorge Baez Valadez, 41—were installing utilities at a site being developed by D.R. Horton Express Homes in Windsor, Colo., when they were trapped by soil and rocks in the 15-ft-deep trench. The rescue attempt lasted seven hours and involved small shovels because of fears of a second collapse. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Engineering News-Record
    ENR may be contacted at

    Arizona Purchaser Dwelling Actions Are Subject to a New Construction

    September 04, 2019 —
    Arizona recently amended its Purchaser Dwelling Action statute to, among other things, involve all contractors in the process, establish the parties’ burdens of proof, add an attorney fees provision, establish procedural requirements and limit a subcontractor’s indemnity exposure. The governor signed the bill—2019 Ariz. SB 1271—on April 10, 2019, and the changes go into effect and apply, retroactively “to from and after June 30, 2019.” The following discussion details some of the changes to the law. Notice to Contractors and Proportional Liability Under the revised law, a “Seller” who receives notice of a Purchaser Dwelling Action (PDA) from a residential dwelling purchaser pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-1363* has to promptly forward the notice to all construction professionals—i.e. architects, contractors, subcontractors, etc., as defined in A.R.S. § 12-1361(5)—that the Seller reasonably believes are responsible for an alleged construction defect. A.R.S. § 12-1363(A). Sellers can deliver the notice by electronic means. Once construction professionals are placed on notice, they have the same right to inspect, test and repair the property as the Seller originally placed on notice. A.R.S. § 12-1362(B), (C). To the extent that the matter ultimately goes to suit, A.R.S. § 12-1632(D) dictates that, subject to Arizona Rules of Court, construction professionals “shall be joined as third-party defendants.” To establish liability, the purchaser has the burden of proving the existence of a construction defect and the amount of damages. Thereafter, the trier of fact determines each defendant’s or third-party defendant’s relative degree of fault and allocates the pro rata share of liability to each based on their relative degree of fault. However, the seller, not the purchaser, has the burden of proving the pro rata share of liability for any third-party defendant. A.R.S. § 12-1632(D). Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of William L. Doerler, White and Williams LLP
    Mr. Doerler may be contacted at

    EPA and the Corps of Engineers Repeal the 2015 “Waters of the United States” Rule

    January 13, 2020 —
    The pre-publication version of the final rule to be promulgated by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to repeal the 2015 redefinition of the Clean Water Act’s term “Waters of the United States” which is the linchpin of these agencies’ regulatory power under the CWA, was made available on September 12, 2019. The rule should be published in the Federal Register in the next few weeks, and it will be effective 60 days thereafter. Many challenges are expected to be filed in the federal courts. The 2015 rule was very controversial, and petitions challenging the rule were filed in many federal district courts, several courts of appeal, and finally in the Supreme Court (see NAM v. Department of Defense), which held that all initial challenges must be filed in the federal district courts. The upshot of these challenges is that, at this time, the 2015 rule has been enjoined in more than half the states while the other states are bound by the 2015 rule, a situation which is frustrating for everyone. In addition to repealing the 2015 rule, the agencies also restored the pre-2015 definition had had been in place since 1986. As a result, the pre-2015 definition of waters of the U.S. will again govern the application of the following rules: (a) the ACOE’s definition of “waters of the U.S.” at 33 CFR Section 328.3; (b) EPA’s general Oil Discharge rule at 40 CFR Section 110; (c) the SPCC rules at 40 CFR Part 112; (d) EPA’s designation of hazardous substances at 40 CFR Part 116; (e) EPA’s hazardous substance reportable quantity rule at 40 CFR Part 117; (f) the NPDES permitting rules at 40 CFR Part 122; (g) the guidelines for dredged or fill disposal sites at 40 CFR Part 230; (g) Exempt activities not requiring a CWA 404 permit (guidelines for 404 disposal sites at 40 CFR Part 232); (h) the National Contingency Plan rules at 40 CFR Part 300; (i) the designation of reportable quantities of hazardous substances at 40 CFR Part 302; and (j) EPA’s Effluent Guidelines standards at 40 CFR Part 401. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Anthony B. Cavender, Pillsbury
    Mr. Cavender may be contacted at

    Brazil’s Former President Turns Himself In to Police

    July 22, 2019 —
    Brazil’s former President Michel Temer handed himself in to police following a court ruling that’s unlikely to cause upheaval in domestic politics. Temer turned himself in on Thursday afternoon, after federal court judges ordered his detention on charges of corruption, embezzlement, money laundering and conspiracy. The former head of state was initially arrested on March 21 but released four days later. Temer’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The 78-year old’s party, the MDB, issued a note condemning the “unreasonable” decision. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Mario Sergio Lima, Bloomberg

    Stormy Skies Ahead? Important News Regarding a Hard Construction Insurance Market

    August 13, 2019 —
    Word out of the construction insurance brokerage community is that the construction insurance industry has entered a hard market, seemingly overnight. Property (i.e. builder’s risk), liability and wrap-up markets are all reacting unfavorably, resulting in higher premiums and decreased availability of coverage options. The prospect of a hard market has been looming for some time given massive weather driven property losses and historically low rates (among other factors). It appears the time is upon us. Key takeaways for construction professionals are:
    • Expect insurance premiums to go up, potentially significantly, at renewal time and/or when seeking a new project specific program (e.g., an OCIP, CCIP, etc.).
    • Expect that the available coverage will get worse. Carriers may be unable to offer once standard coverage enhancements and/or may add new exclusions.
    • If quotes have been offered consider locking them in now, before the underwriters are forced to increase the rates/restrict coverage, or pull the quotes entirely.
    • With respect to wrap-ups and other project specific programs, consider requesting extensions now if the project is expected to go beyond the current policy term.
    • As always, the risk management team (lawyer, broker, risk manager) should work together to carefully review contracts and coverage. This will become even more important if the carriers start to introduce new exclusions as a result of the hard market.
    Hard markets come and go. The tough times are when true construction insurance professionals separate themselves from the pack and become the key to weathering the storm. Jason M. Adams, Esq. is Senior Counsel at Gibbs Giden representing construction professionals (owners/developers, contractors, architects, etc.) in the areas of Construction Law, Insurance Law and Risk Management, Common Interest Community Law (HOA) and Business/Civil Litigation. Adams is also a licensed property and casualty insurance broker and certified Construction Risk & Insurance Specialist (CRIS). Gibbs Giden is nationally and locally recognized by U. S. News and Best Lawyers as among the “Best Law Firms” in both Construction Law and Construction Litigation. Chambers USA Directory of Leading Lawyers has consistently recognized Gibbs Giden as among California’s elite construction law firms. Mr. Adams can be reached at Read the court decision
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    Partners Jeremy S. Macklin and Mark F. Wolfe Secure Seventh Circuit Win for Insurer Client in Late Notice Dispute

    November 12, 2019 —
    In a written decision dated August 12, 2019, authored by Chief Judge Diane P. Wood, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of Traub Lieberman’s insurer client, affirming the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in the insurer’s favor. Partners, Jeremy S. Macklin and Mark F. Wolfe, represented the insurer client in the District Court and before the Seventh Circuit. Macklin argued the case before the Seventh Circuit on behalf of the insurer on May 28, 2019. The insurer client issued an excess liability policy to Deerfield Construction, a telecommunications construction company, which incorporated the notice requirements of the primary liability insurance policy issued by American States Insurance Company. The insured’s employee was involved in an automobile accident in 2008, during the effective dates of the excess liability policy. A lawsuit arising from the accident was filed and served in 2009. While Deerfield Construction, through its retained insurance intermediary, provided immediate notice of the accident and lawsuit to the primary liability insurer, the insurer client did not receive notice of either the accident or the lawsuit from any source until December 2014, approximately six weeks before trial. Following a $2.3 million judgment, the insurer client filed a complaint for declaratory judgment seeking a finding that Deerfield Construction materially breached the excess liability policy by not providing reasonable notice of the accident or the lawsuit, as required by the policy. The District Court found that the notice given to the insurer client was unreasonable as a matter of law. The District Court rejected Deerfield Construction’s argument that an insurance broker involved in the purchase of the excess liability policy, Arthur J. Gallagher, was the insurer client’s apparent agent for purposes of accepting notice. The District Court also rejected Deerfield Construction’s argument that the insurer client’s acts of requesting discovery, reviewing trial reports, and participating in settlement discussions raised equitable estoppel concerns. Reprinted courtesy of Jeremy S. Macklin, Traub Lieberman and Mark F. Wolfe, Traub Lieberman Mr. Macklin may be contacted at Mr. Wolfe may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Insurer's Motion for Summary Judgment to Reject Collapse Coverage Denied

    November 24, 2019 —
    The insurer unsuccessfully moved for summary judgment seeking to reject the insured's collapse claim. Gnannn v. United Servs. Auto, Ass'n, 2019 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1955 (Conn. Super Ct. July 11, 2019). The insureds' home was built in 1985 and they purchased their home in 1993. A home inspection reported that some settlement and curing related cracks existed in the slab floor, but no signs of abnormal settlement were noticed. The concrete walls were in overall good condition. In 2015, the insureds became aware of abnormal cracking in the basement. USAA was informed of the claim but denied coverage in October 2015. The insureds sued USAA. After suit was filed, the insureds hired an engineer, David Grandpre, to inspect their home. He observed severe cracking in the basement walls caused by an expansive chemical reaction within the concrete. The structure was not in imminent peril of falling down, and it continued as insureds' residence. But Mr. Grandpre noticed bulging and bowing, evidence that the concrete basement walls had failed and had begun to move inward due to the lateral pressure of the soil outside the home. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
    Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at