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

September 2002
Recently, a client called to ask me about cost-plus contracts. His company is a subcontractor on a new stadium project. Delays, and resulting accelerations, have caused substantial increased expense. Rather than go the claim route, the contract manager agreed to convert their lump sum subcontract to cost plus. Sounds good? Not necessarily. READ MORE
August 2002
Sometimes the last 5 or 10 percent of the job is the hardest to complete, and the most expensive per item. You think that you have reached substantial completion and want to come to an understanding about what is left to be done for final completion and final payment. You, the general contractor or the architect—somebody—develops a punch list. The term “punch list” rarely appears in any contract. READ MORE
July 2002
The poet Robert Burns wrote that “the best laid plans of mice and men may soon go asunder.” (In the original, it was written: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ man gang aft agley.”) Nothing could be truer for construction schedules. Your plan is supposed to account for known conditions (site access, weather, labor availability, etc.). READ MORE
June 2002
There are hundreds of examples: no written contract for a small commercial repair or home improvement; a “letter of intent” so you can start work; verbal direction to perform extras; your written contract not signed by the owner. Do you have an enforceable contract? READ MORE
May 2002
Electrical contractors are not unique in the problems they confront or the mistakes they make. Your increased exposure, however, comes from the fact that you tend to be one of the first trades on the job at the start of construction and one of the last at the end. As a result, almost any wobble in the course of construction has potential impact on you. READ MORE
April 2002
It is common practice in construction for an owner to require lien releases when payments are made. This way, the owner hopes to obtain assurances that the general contractor has paid its subcontractors and suppliers. In addition, the owner may believe that the release means there are no other claims. This last idea is not always correct. READ MORE
March 2002
 American law contains a concept known as “legal fiction.” For reasons of equity or otherwise, the law sometimes pretends that something exists when it does not, or that something does not exist when it does. For example, a contract contains stringent written notice requirements for extras and time extensions. A failure to send written notice waives the claim. READ MORE
February 2002
Some time ago, I represented a pharmaceutical company, which for years had employed an electrical contractor for maintenance and upgrades to its plant on a time-and-material basis. The owner then contracted for a new building to manufacture and package a dietary powder. The new building had an unusual configuration. Each of its 14 floors supported separate processes. READ MORE