You have been assigned responsibility for the delivery of your organization’s capital improvement project. After the glow of this assignment has passed, the reality of the task at hand presents itself. What do you do and how do you accomplish it?
At Benesch, one of our core services is the representation of public and private clients in every aspect of real estate land acquisition, development and financing. We counsel clients throughout the project process, from the initial land analysis and site selection phase through the public/private financing process, to construction bidding and award, during construction and after project completion. The project process is complex and often businesses do not know where to begin. Our attorneys know the questions asked at every step of the process. For example, “Is this a good site?”; “What is the appropriate delivery method?”; “Can I get public financing?”; “How do I negotiate and deal with zoning?”. Our attorneys know the answers to these and related questions and they deliver them to you in an integrated process. Benesch provides these services in one continuous process, which offers our clients a more consistent, efficient delivery at less cost. Our Project Counsel Team is a multidisciplinary group comprised of attorneys from four of Benesch’s core practice areas: Real Estate, Public Law, Public Finance and Construction, which gives you the advantage of “start-to-finish” service. Because each of these practice areas are staffed with some of the most respected attorneys in the region, we are uniquely situated to provide a multidisciplinary, continuous approach to project matters.
And in the event of conflict with any contractors, we have substantial experience and a proven track record handling major construction disputes. Our years of experience in large, complicated real estate and construction matters allow our Project Counsel Team to address your interests at the highest level, providing relentless accountability, proven technical expertise and a collaborative approach which allows us to provide a more effective level of quality service on projects of all sizes and complexities.
Step 1 - Land Analysis, Acquisition and Development:
We handle all aspects of real estate analysis, acquisition and development needs for our clients. Our attorneys represent buyers, sellers, developers, lenders, tenants and various other parties either directly or indirectly involved in the acquisition and development of real estate. Our Real Estate Practice Group has been involved in the acquisition, development and financing of shopping malls, strip centers, large office buildings, valuable vacant land, industrial facilities and corporate headquarters for both public and private entities.
Step 2 - Financing:
After an ideal location has been identified, we regularly represent borrowers in real estate financing arrangements involving conventional senior financing, publicly-assisted financing and tax credit financing. Our Public Law and Public Finance Groups have vast experience in identifying sources of public financing, including the issuance of tax-exempt bonds. We work with our clients to determine the best financing options, and we work hand-in-hand with them in obtaining the funds.
Step 3 - Construction/Bidding:
The design and construction process is complex, multi-party and fraught with the potential for expensive and contracted disputes. The use of knowledgeable and experienced construction counsel can significantly reduce the severity and time associated with these disputes and place the project owner in a more advantageous position. There are many pros and cons to evaluate regarding design and construction. Our attorneys help clients pick the options that will maximize the pros and minimize the cons for each individual circumstance. Our design/construction services include:
- Recommendation of the appropriate project delivery methodologies. These methodologies include traditional design/bid/build, construction management, design/build, engineer/procure/construction or integrated project delivery. The recommendations may apply to the project as a whole or to selective components. These recommendations will incorporate any procurement requirements or restrictions which may attach to governmental funding of the project. In addition, they will recognize the specific strengths and weaknesses of local, regional or national design and/or construction entities that are considered for inclusion by our clients.
- Implementation of the selected project delivery methodology through the development and negotiation of necessary and appropriate contractual agreements. These agreements will reflect the most cost effective allocation of risk between participants to avoid excessive and unnecessary design and construction costs, and design and construction claims. These agreements will also focus on the need and desirability of early and effective issue identification, communication, and resolution in the management of the inevitable changes which occur in the design and construction phases of virtually every sophisticated infrastructure project.
- Preparation of competitive bidding documents including invitations to bid, instructions to bidders and related front-end documents for both public and private owners. We provide guidance and construction industry agreements which give our clients the tools that appreciably increase the likelihood of a successful on-time, on-budget project delivery.
- Assistance in the managements and memorialization of the modifications to the initial design and construction agreements. In the construction industry, change is a constant. Inevitably, modifications will arise, and how these modifications are handled is critical. They can be significant to modest in nature. Each modification, however, should be developed and memorialized to insure that all significant issues have been addressed and resolved to eliminate the future confusion and ambiguity which often leads to disputes.
- Once a project is underway, our team emphasizes preventative measures. We draw on our experience in alternative dispute resolution methods to handle conflicts swiftly and effectively. Our attorneys are skilled advocates and facilitators in mediations, arbitrations, dispute review boards and litigation. We know how to use each of these forums effectively, and we can advise you on the most economical and creative methods to resolve your dispute. It is virtually inevitable that disputes will arise over the scope and impact of design and construction phase modifications. When these disputes generate formal claims for additional time and money, immediate measures to manage the dispute must be taken to protect our clients from expensive dispute resolution processes and inappropriate construction claim methodologies. The implementation of immediate measures have proven to be highly successful in reducing the length and cost of design and construction phase disputes. These measures may include the use of BIM models to preserve and memorialize specific project history and the existence of non-existence of performance impediments.
When formal litigation cannot be avoided, we are prepared to vigorously pursue our clients’ objectives. Our attorneys have appeared in federal and state courts, including courts of claims, as well as various boards of contract appeals and arbitration forums. Our attorneys also serve as arbitrators and mediators, so we understand what it takes to successfully present and defend claims.