Construction Practices

They are very good outside-the-box thinkersFor more than 25 years, Sedgwick’s Construction Practices Group has represented a wide range of the players within the construction industry and is involved with an even broader array of construction projects. Sedgwick’s clients, including private sector companies, government agencies, and corporations crossing international borders, benefit from our team’s expertise, experience, and legal prowess in all areas of the construction process.

Document Preparation and Negotiation

Sedgwick attorneys work with our clients to negotiate and draft customized documents based on each client’s specifications and unique requirements. Our attorneys have years of experience negotiating and drafting construction contracts of all types, including design-build contracts; traditional lump-sum and guaranteed maximum price contracts; performance-based contracts; construction management contracts, including at-risk contracts; and design contracts. Our attorneys are extremely familiar with the contract forms published by the American Institute of Architects, ConsensusDOCS, Associated General Contractors, Design-Build Institute of America, Engineers Joint Contracts Documents Committee, and the Construction Management Association of America. 

Project Counseling and Advice

Sedgwick’s construction attorneys also have extensive experience counseling and advising clients as they face the myriad of issues that arise during the course of the construction process. Our attorneys regularly provide invaluable assistance interpreting the meaning and interplay of contract provisions; identifying potential claims; positioning our clients to best pursue or defeat such claims; negotiating and drafting change orders and change directives; and securing appropriate progress and final payments. By working closely with our clients during the course of a construction project, our attorneys can preserve and protect legal rights and maximize project returns.

Construction Claims and Dispute Resolution

When construction projects hit the inevitable bumps, our construction attorneys do not wait for matters to reach the courtroom. Rather, we are proactive. We work with our clients to manage risk and when appropriate, take charge at the earliest stages of negotiations, Dispute Resolution Board hearings, or workout meetings. We focus on fashioning cost-effective, real world solutions to the problems facing our clients.  

Sedgwick’s construction attorneys pioneered early document exchanges and mediated settlements long before “alternative dispute resolution” became a popular phrase, much less a requisite step during litigation or arbitration. Avoiding protracted litigation and discovery is often in our clients’ best interests, and we are adept at securing favorable early remedies, thereby sparing our clients the high costs of discovery and litigation.  

Of course, when necessary, Sedgwick is prepared to aggressively take matters to trial, arbitration, and beyond. Members of the Construction Practices Group have significant courtroom experience handling a variety of construction disputes, including claims for extra work, delay, acceleration, payment breach, design deficiency, breach of warranty, and the like.  Recently, we have won several significant verdicts and arbitration awards for our clients. To achieve these results, we work closely with industry leaders in such fields as construction scheduling and accounting in order to provide our clients with sound and comprehensive representation. 

International Construction Work

Sedgwick routinely represents clients in transactional matters, claims and disputes arising out of international projects before both U.S. courts and international dispute resolution tribunals such as the International Court of Arbitration (ICC), the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). 

Sedgwick’s clients and representative matters span the globe from the Middle East to Europe, East and Central Asia, South and Central America and Australia, and include foreign governments, owners, contractors and design professionals.

Our construction attorneys are particularly knowledgeable in the complexities of international law and cognizant of differences between various cultures. At the start of projects, we bring a wealth of experience in drafting and negotiating agreements that require a deep understanding of the intricacies in laws across various jurisdictions. We recently prepared a seminar to numerous foreign construction representatives on international contracting practices at the International Law Institute. 

During performance, we work with clients to manage their claim rights, minimize liability and advise them about the various options and alternatives. As the project or claims comes to a close, Sedgwick construction attorneys are also experienced in litigation or arbitration of claims arising out of international projects. Our litigation includes disputes between private parties on foreign projects, as well as claims asserted by U.S. and foreign contractors on federally-funded U.S. projects abroad against governmental entities such as the USAID and the U.S. Corps of Engineers. We are also experienced in prosecuting claims arising out of bilateral investment treaties in ICSID.

Government Contracts

Sedgwick attorneys have helped domestic and international firms obtain, retain, and manage contracts with U.S. federal, state and local governments. We assist clients on the entire spectrum of government contracting issues at every stage of the procurement process from proposal preparation and bid protests through contract claim resolution.

We understand the complexities of the current business and regulatory environments and we advise clients on how to achieve their goals while remaining in compliance with government rules. Sedgwick offers comprehensive advice and assistance to businesses seeking to compete and operate successfully in the public contract marketplace in a wide array of industries. Our attorneys have extensive experience assisting defense contractors, office and information technology manufacturers and service providers, high-technology firms, health care providers, resellers and small business contractors.

Our construction group attorneys has been at the forefront of public contract law for decades. We understand the government contracting process from all perspectives and have built relationships with our clients that have endured for many years. 

Regulatory Advice and Counsel

Sedgwick prides itself on representing clients throughout the entire spectrum of a construction project, from planning to completion. It also provides advice and counsel to clients navigating federal, state and local regulatory agencies, including permitting, safety and ADA accessibility issues.  

Employment and Labor

Sedgwick’s Employment and Labor Practice offers a wide variety of services that are integral to its construction clients, including wage and hour compliance and litigation; labor law and labor relations disputes; discrimination, harassment, retaliation and whistleblower matters; and employee benefits, counseling, policy development and training.

Surety/Creditors’ Rights/Bankruptcy

As a recognized national and international leader in managing the complex issues facing bonding companies, Sedgwick’s attorneys counsel and defend sureties in negotiations, mediations, arbitrations and litigation in local, state and federal jurisdictions (including bankruptcy courts). Sedgwick’s lawyers have negotiated and drafted countless workout agreements, completion contracts, and takeover agreements. Additionally, Sedgwick’s construction expertise allows us to successfully negotiate default terminations and aggressively pursue affirmative claims.  

Bankruptcies do not stop Sedgwick or terminate our clients’ interests. Our attorneys have substantial expertise in protecting our clients’ interests as creditors, which gives us an advantage in any bankruptcy negotiation. Moreover, with Sedgwick’s extraordinary bench strength in the creditors’ rights and the insurance industry, we offer our clients cross-practice expertise when confronting complex bankruptcies and bad faith and other extra-contractual claims. Sedgwick’s experience extends beyond performance, payment, bid, release, and license bonds in construction to commercial, subdivision, license, probate, judicial, fiduciary, and miscellaneous bonds. Our attorneys also draw on Sedgwick experts in E&O and CGL policies and other insurance resources to exhaust all avenues to shift risks from our clients to others.

In support of the frequent in-house claims handling seminars presented by our attorneys, Sedgwick has published the California Fair Claims Settlement Practices Handbook, as well as the Texas Surety Law Deskbook. 

Construction Industry Leadership

Attorneys in Sedgwick’s Construction Practices Group frequently write and present on topics of interest in the construction industry. Our attorneys are active and have held leadership positions in several industry organizations, including:

  • Associated General Contractors of America 
  • Associated General Contractors of California
  • Associated General Contractors of Washington
  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • American Bar Association’s Forum on the Construction Industry 
  • American Bar Association’s Public Contract Law Section 
  • American Bar Association’s Fidelity and Surety Law Committee
  • Women in Construction
  • National Association of Women in Construction