Gerard W. Ittig

Legal Columnist

Gerard Ittig, of Ittig & Ittig, P.C., in Washington, D.C., specializes in construction law. He can be contacted at 202.387.5508, or

Articles by Gerard W. Ittig

February 2004
A number of years ago, I hired a carpentry company to work on my house. At completion, the company’s president came over with his final invoice. I told him that the invoice was wrong. His crews had neglected to note extra trim I had ordered and extra work I had requested on some windows. Where did he go wrong? READ MORE
January 2004
Contracts are drafted by committee. The group always includes an attorney who may or may not give practical considerations to the language drafted. That language, however, is of paramount importance to you. So what do you do when confronted with a book of terms and conditions? Ignore them? Try to reason through what the clauses say? Call your attorney? READ MORE
December 2003
A few years ago, I was asked to present a seminar on delay/disruption damages. In my presentation, I made reference to “The Art of War” by Sun-Tzu, an ancient recipe book on winning at battle. READ MORE
December 2003
We all make mistakes. Often, there are no ramifications and the error in judgment can be resolved with an excuse or apology. In contract law, mistakes have a deeper meaning, and the results can be harsh. The law characterizes mistakes and places them into categories. There are unilateral (one-sided) mistakes and mutual ones. READ MORE
November 2003
Construction companies often retain the services of consultants/experts to assist in preparing a claim or in presenting a dispute in court or arbitration. The range of services offered is extensive. Almost all bar journals and trade magazines carry advertisements for expert advice and testimony. Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 702, the definition of an expert is fairly broad. READ MORE
October 2003
Construction contract law consists of a body of court decisions, regulations, statutes and of the contract itself, sometimes referred to as the law between the parties. This area of the law is complex and is constantly changing. The irony is that contractors carry the financial burden of knowing the law, not the lawyers. READ MORE
October 2003
Whether to arbitrate is not normally a question. If your contract has a written arbitration clause, you must arbitrate. If not, you can pursue your claims in court. So, what do you need to know about the process? Congress passed the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) in 1925. Every state has adopted a version of the Uniform Arbitration Act, which is similar to the federal law. READ MORE
September 2003
A change in site conditions can be unusual and unexpected, and in some cases, even worse. In one instance, a contractor was hired to clean air-conditioning ducts in a military barracks. He found women’s underwear, beer cans and live ammunition in the ducts. As you can imagine, these obstructions increased the cost of performance and none of them had been noted in the plans and specifications. READ MORE
August 2003
To a non-lawyer, the language that lawyers use can seem confusing. Where else would “criminal conversation” mean having an extramarital affair? On top of its Latin roots, the words of law have been over layered with French and early English. My personal favorite is “la utilité del chose excusera le noisomeness del stink,” which means: the usefulness of the thing excuses its evil consequences. READ MORE