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 2005
A few years ago, a friend asked me for a legal definition of substantial completion. That was easy: beneficial occupancy. However, the substitution of one phrase with another was of little help. The same can be said about defining “waiver.” It is a voluntary (and perhaps intentional) relinquishment of a known right. But what is it really, or rather, how does it work? READ MORE
January 2005
Make a case for the amount of money you have coming There are always two components to every construction contract claim. The first is entitlement; the second is quantum. Entitlement consists of your proof that the other party breached the contract or that the contract itself lets you recover, for example, under a changes clause. READ MORE
December 2004
This article concentrates on home construction and construction for the small business owner. The problems, legal or otherwise, encountered by the small- to medium-sized contractors on these projects do not differ much from those of large companies on big jobs. The major exception relates to the cost of protecting and pursuing your rights in relation to the price of the project. READ MORE
November 2004
A Refresher Below you will find questions relating to actual lawsuits, with some shortening of the facts. My past articles address all of the presented questions. Take this test to see if you can confidently select the best answer. I'll talk about the answers next month. 1. There is a section in the specifications that refers to materials “furnished by” the electrical contractor. READ MORE
October 2004
Nine Points to Help Reach Agreements There are hundreds of books and articles on the “art” of negotiation. Many of them are helpful, but too many are filled with war stories whose instructions may be hard to apply to your specific issue. Some people are natural negotiators. Through force of personality, an ability to read body language or intuition, these rare people are fun to know and watch. READ MORE
September 2004
Ambiguities, vagueness in contracts can be disastrous Drafting construction contracts takes skill. Interpreting someone else’s contract can be equally challenging, and more so if clauses can be read to have multiple, possibly contradictory meanings. The English language can be precise, but used carelessly or deliberately, it can also be vague or ambiguous. READ MORE
August 2004
Settlement agreements may be the nail that saves you Settlement agreements come in all forms, some of which are called by different names. A number of related concepts have been the subject of prior articles, including “accord and satisfaction” and “final lien waivers.” Hand-shake agreements are not wise in construction contracting. READ MORE
July 2004
When a job goes really wrong, for any number of reasons, it can result in the owner deciding that the contractor is so much at fault that their contract comes to a premature end. An owner’s default termination of a contractor has many ramifications. A prior article discusses termination issues that confront the contractor. READ MORE
June 2004
Independent contract hires can create tricky situations There was a time when you joined a company for life. Times have changed. Now we are looking for guarantees. If you do not negotiate for your employment, you are lost. There are basic terms and conditions for an employee or a contract hire. READ MORE