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

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
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
August 2003
Don’t gamble when it comes to the contract “Standard” form Construction contracts come in all sizes and shapes. There are the American Institute of Architects (AIA) forms, EJCDC (a joint effort of NSPE, ACEC and ASCE), AGC and, for international work, FIDIC, the JCT (Joint Contracts Tribunal) and others, such as the Engineering Advancement Association of Japan (ENAA). So what is the standard? READ MORE
July 2003
On almost every project, large or small, there will be minor stoppages of all or part of the work. Many of these predictable delays are not significant enough to support a delay claim. For example, you have to shift your crews one day to accommodate the mason. Or the work stops because the owner is doing a walk-through. Or an accident at the site shuts down the work for an OSHA inspection. READ MORE
June 2003
Licensing statutes and regulations are among the more non-uniform laws in this country, besides lien laws. The primary focus of licensing is supposed to be for public health and safety. That is, the license, while not a guarantee of the quality of the contractor, indicates the contractor’s compliance with some minimum standards and requirements. READ MORE
June 2003
The Spearin Doctrine, Christian Doctrine, False Claims Act, BCAs, FARs, Davis-Bacon. If you do not know all of these concepts, you should rethink bidding on a federal government project. One of my clients was awarded a subcontract on an Air Force job. READ MORE
May 2003
Cashing a check may be seen as accepting a settlement A recent Virginia case highlights the danger of cashing checks that contain notations of “final payment.” In Gelles & Sons v. J. Stack Inc., Gelles performed masonry work worth close to $100,000. At project completion, Gelles was owed $26,000, which Stack refused to pay. READ MORE
May 2003
Some time ago, a friend of mine who worked for a construction management firm explained one of his company’s philosophies. The firm divided all owners into two types: the first consisted of owners which regularly bought construction services; the second (such as hospitals, schools, prisons, etc.) engaged in major construction only occasionally. The difference is extremely important. READ MORE