The inaugural Youth Olympic Games hosted by Singapore in August last year left a positive impression on Singapore’s young guests. The fanfare would have been much bigger had the Singapore Sports Hub been available for the event. At an estimated cost of S$1.33 billion, the new Sports Hub will boast a 55,000-seater retractable roof stadium,…

The 2010 International Arbitration Survey by the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary College, University of London, represents one of the largest empirical studies ever undertaken of corporate attitudes and practices regarding international arbitration. The focus – key factors influencing corporate decisions on international arbitration. The 2010 survey sees a much broadened territorial scope…

In Part 1 of this two part subcontracting series, we detailed some tips and traps with respect to subcontracting, and considered the criticality of successful subcontractor performance to the timely and on budget delivery of projects. In Part 2 below, we examine the risks of pro-forma subcontracts and back-to-back drafting and briefly touch on the benefits of bespoke drafted subcontracts.

Since Adam Smith first set his mind to the efficiency of the pin factory in 1776, specialisation and division of labour has underpinned industrial development. The construction industry has embraced specialisation and division of labour to such a degree that almost every construction project, no matter how large or small, is delivered in practice by a large number of separate parties, each with a narrow field of expertise and each with a commercial and practical imperative to maximise the efficiency within their field of expertise.

I had a great meal in an ethnic Indian restaurant recently and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the cook was an overseas Chinese! The construction industry, like the food and beverage business, shows considerable partiality to foreign workers. The most common reason – lower labour costs. Thus, the construction industry is filled with foreign…

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules were adopted in 1976, and have been both broadly used and widely praised as simple and straightforward. Remarkably, in 34 years they have not been revised – until now. Revisions were finally approved this summer, and arbitration agreements concluded after August 15, 2010 and…

When an Owner comes after the Contractor for liquidated delay damages (LDs) after a project is completed late, the Contractor’s only substantive defense is to argue that the delay was excused by force majeure or Owner actions (naturally there may be procedural defenses, like timeliness). However, a recent decision by the United States Court of…

The UAE construction sector is a continually developing market with complex transactions becoming increasingly prevalent. The evolution of the construction sector has highlighted the need for more robust construction contracts that deal with all the relevant risk issues for a project.

The U.S. Supreme Court has been deciding cases regarding arbitration at (for them) a furious pace recently, and the latest decision (Rent-A-Center West, Inc. v. Jackson, 2010 WL 2471058 (June 21, 2010)) reconfirms the Court’s continued strong support for enforcing arbitration agreements as written, even where this deprives the courts of any significant role in…

Arbitration has long been established as a method of dispute resolution in the Middle East. In recent times, with the enormous economic growth experienced in the region, and the UAE’s liberal approach to foreign investment, the provision for solving disputes by arbitration has become even more prominent in commercial contracts, aided in part by the fact that it is the favoured method of resolving disputes under many standard form construction contracts.

Under both the contractual process and subsequent formal dispute resolution proceedings, contemporary records form a critical part of the evidence to be utilised in evaluating the contractual entitlement. The importance of good record keeping – by both contractors and employer’s agents or engineers—cannot be overstated.

With reason, non-Americans tend to be wide-eyed at the extent to which U.S courts require affirmative disclosure of potentially relevant documents and facts – and at the cost these discovery procedures routinely entail. One change just announced, however, represents a bit of retrenchment that will make handling construction disputes in U.S. Federal courts a bit…

On Monday, April 19, 2010, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia handed down “the longest-ever prison sentence” for a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violation. Charles Jumet was sentenced to 87 months in prison for conspiring to violate the FCPA and for making false statements to federal agents. Jumet, a vice president…

News headlines in the UAE have recently proclaimed that “companies defaulting on salaries will soon be a thing of the past” (Gulf News), as the UAE government has launched its Wage Protection System (the “WPS”). Certainly the WPS is a significant step to protect the rights of workers in the UAE, and given the size and importance of the construction sector in the UAE, the WPS will also have a big impact on how employers in the UAE construction industry operate and pay employees. We look at the WPS, how it will operate and the impact the WPS will have on employers and employees across the UAE.

When forced to litigate in the U.S., many businesses – especially multinational ones – prefer to be in federal rather than state court. The U.S. Supreme Court just made it a bit easier to fulfill that desire. Most construction disputes are contract cases not involving federal law, so a federal court will only have jurisdiction…

The U.S. has been a staunch supporter of arbitration since 1925, when the U.S. Arbitration Act became law. The Arbitration Act makes arbitration agreements binding and simple to enforce, without significant exception. Rather suddenly, a substantial backlash against mandatory arbitration has appeared on the scene. One of the clearest indicators is the proposed Arbitration Fairness…

Non-U.S. companies frequently ask whether they are eligible to compete for U.S. Government construction and renovation projects, whether within the U.S. or on U.S.-owned facilities abroad. The answer is a simple “yes” in the great majority of cases, unless the project requires access to secure or classified information. Much of the work on U.S. Embassies,…

The principal weapon of the U.S. government to combat corruption in international business dealings is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). To say that the U.S. is now aggressively pursuing FCPA cases is an understatement. In the past year, we have seen billions of dollars of fines, sting operations, and the pursuit of individuals around the world. Here are some of the latest FCPA headlines:

The spreading trend toward “green” building has resulted in a number of competing and overlapping certification systems, with only faint hope in sight of better standardization. United States builders are most familiar with the LEED system sponsored by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Through USGBC’s association with the World Green Building Council, LEED…

The U.S momentum to build “green” is rapidly gaining popularity, with the office market currently leading the way toward more sustainable structures. The construction industry, including the publishers of form construction contracts, is scrambling to keep up. ConsensusDOCS, a relatively new group of industry organizations that is promoting a family of contract forms that have…

U.S. courts in recent years have imposed stricter obligations on individuals sitting as arbitrators to disclose to the parties fully any facts or circumstances that may give rise to doubts about their impartiality or independence. As a result, the arbitrators’ mantra has become “disclose, disclose, disclose.” Indeed, it has become fairly common in arbitrations under…

While arbitration is often touted as being a less expensive alternative to litigation, the initial cost of initiating arbitration has always been considerably more expensive than filing in court. Typical filing fee in a U.S. court is a few hundred dollars, while administering authorities typically have filing fees in the thousands of dollars. The American…

Problems with drywall imported from China during the ill-fated U.S. housing boom continue to be front and center in the southeastern U.S., as complaints continue to roll in regarding health problems allegedly caused by the tainted wallboard, as well as damage to electrical and plumbing work. Naturally enough, a significant litigation boom has followed, including…

Cash-flow from lender to owner to construction manager to subcontractors is the lifeblood of any construction project. And maintaining a sufficient flow of funds is essential to every construction manager’s ability to manage the job. Contract provisions requiring a contractor or subcontractor to continue to work, even if the right to payment is disputed, mean…

With construction activity in India now worth $50 billion per annum and accounting for around 6% of Indian GDP, India is an attractive market for contractors. The construction sector in India employs around 40 million people. The granting of ‘industry’ status to the Indian construction industry by the Indian Government has resulted in fast track…

Enforcement of arbitration awards in the United States in substantial matters is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1, et seq. (FAA). A closely related statute found at 9 U.S.C. §§ 201-208 contains specific provisions for international awards rendered under the New York Convention, but the FAA also governs those proceedings unless…

Despite the challenging world economic conditions, the Gulf looks set to remain one of the most significant global construction markets. It is true that there has been a collapse in demand regionally for the large, private developments and indeed it seems the speculative real estate market may be a thing of the past. This has…

During the 2004-07 housing boom, approximately 309 million square feet of Chinese-made drywall was imported into the United States. Since that time, nearly 1,000 lawsuits have been filed alleging that the imported drywall contains sulfur compounds which, when exposed to heat and moisture, release sulfurous acids resulting in the corrosion of metal components, such as…