Photo of Laurann Asklof

Laurann Asklof practices in the area of construction litigation, representing colleges, universities, public schools and independent schools in various construction projects. She has experience in the drafting and negotiating of construction contracts and the bid process. Laurann is the principal litigator for a national University’s construction infrastructure programs, acting as its Lead Counsel and primary construction litigator.


DesignMeetingImageIn our last Construction Corner post, we discussed the various roles that a construction manager may play in a project and introduced the Construction Manager at Risk project delivery method.  Now we will discuss the most traditional of project delivery methods, Design-Bid-Build project delivery.

For projects employing the Design-Bid-Build (“DBB”) project delivery method, the owner procures an architect (or engineer) to design the project and produce design and construction documents. Once the design and construction documents are complete and satisfactory to the owner, the owner engages a general contractor (“GC”) to construct the project.Continue Reading Construction Corner: Design-Bid-Build Project Delivery Method

ConstructionDesigneratDeskImageNow that we have reviewed the necessary steps for a successful solicitation process for a design professional, we will focus on the role a construction manager may play and offer suggestions on how to identify whether or not you should engage a construction manager for your project.

First, it is important to note that the terms “Construction Manager” and “CM” are used in the construction industry to refer to both a project management system and a project delivery system.

As regards a CM as a project manager, the CM acts as an advisor to the owner and is not responsible to the owner for the actual construction of the project or compliance with the project schedule.  A CM in such an advisory capacity is often referred to in the industry as a “CM Agency” or “CM Advisor”.  In the role of CM Agency, the CM is the owner’s agent for the administration and overall management of the project and is generally involved in the project from beginning to end.  As the agent of the owner, the construction manager is granted a specified level of authority to act for the owner and has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the owner.  A “CM Advisor” also counsels the owner as regards the project, but may not be involved in all phases of the project.  For instance, you might engage a CM Advisor to assist in the construction phase of the project to supplement the skills and capacity of your internal project team for administration of the project.  The CM Advisor often has a more limited role and less decision making authority than a CM Agent.  In either case, the CM is usually compensated on a lump sum basis based on a particular period of time for completion of the project or the CM’s participation in the project. To the extent that such period of time is exceeded, the CM is usually compensated at a contracted hourly rate for its additional services.Continue Reading Construction Corner: Identifying the Need for a Construction Manager for Your School Construction Project

ConstructionDesignImageLast week, we discussed the requirements of the selection process for the architect of a state-assisted school construction project as well as the importance of procurement protocols for all projects regardless of the source of funding.  Now, we will discuss the basic requirements for your RFQ and RFP solicitation documents for the selection of your design professional.

At the outset, it is essential to the procurement process that your solicitation document (RFQ and/or RFP) include comprehensive, relevant, well organized and statutorily compliant content. A solicitation that meets this standard is more likely to elicit proposals that also meet such standards which will facilitate and streamline your evaluation and selection process.  Such a solicitation will also reduce the likelihood of bid disputes and aid in the defense of a bid dispute should one arise.Continue Reading Construction Corner: Preparing RFQs and RFPs for Design Services for Your School Construction Project

ConstructionPlanningImageLast week, we discussed the importance of evaluating the capabilities of your initial project team to assess the need for a third party project manager.  This week we will focus on selecting the architect who will best serve and participate as a member of your project team.

The architect for a school construction project receiving state assistance plays a particularly important role in the application and other submissions required for the school construction grant program administered by the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services.  The process for the selection of an architect for a state assisted project is governed by Connecticut General Statutes §10-287(b)(2) and involves what is often referred in the construction industry as a “quality based selection” process.  Quality based selection is a process that allows the award of a contract for a public project based on criteria in addition to price.  The statute calls for a two-step selection process whereby it is first determined whether proposers are qualified based on the criteria set forth in the request for qualifications (“RFQ”).  From the group of qualified proposers the “four most responsible qualified proposers” are identified based on the criteria set forth in the RFQ and the request for proposals (“RFP”).Continue Reading Construction Corner: Selecting an Architect for Your School Construction Project

ConstructionPlanningImageA successful school construction project will fulfill the identified needs of the community and be completed on schedule and within budget.  In order to achieve success, these three basic project elements – scope, duration and cost – must be carefully considered and managed both in advance of and during construction.

As a school administrator, building committee member or other participant in a school construction project, there are many aspects of construction projects that are not within your control.  There are, however, areas in which you can have a significant impact on the success of your project such as:

  • Definition of your project goals
  • Establishment of a project management structure
  • Selection of a project delivery method
  • Procurement of your design professional and contractor
  • Negotiation of a contract for design services
  • Negotiation of a contract for construction services
  • Employment of risk allocation techniques
  • Establishment of procedures for project administration
    Continue Reading Construction Corner: How to Make Your School Construction Project A Success