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    Seattle, Washington

    Washington Builders Right To Repair Current Law Summary:

    Current Law Summary: (SB 5536) The legislature passed a contractor protection bill that reduces contractors' exposure to lawsuits to six years from 12, and gives builders seven "affirmative defenses" to counter defect complaints from homeowners. Claimant must provide notice no later than 45 days before filing action; within 21 days of notice of claim, "construction professional" must serve response; claimant must accept or reject inspection proposal or settlement offer within 30 days; within 14 days following inspection, construction pro must serve written offer to remedy/compromise/settle; claimant can reject all offers; statutes of limitations are tolled until 60 days after period of time during which filing of action is barred under section 3 of the act. This law applies to single-family dwellings and condos.

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    A license is required for plumbing, and electrical trades. Businesses must register with the Secretary of State.

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    MBuilders Association of King & Snohomish Counties
    Local # 4955
    335 116th Ave SE
    Bellevue, WA 98004

    Seattle Washington Building Expert 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Kitsap County
    Local # 4944
    5251 Auto Ctr Way
    Bremerton, WA 98312

    Seattle Washington Building Expert 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Spokane
    Local # 4966
    5813 E 4th Ave Ste 201
    Spokane, WA 99212

    Seattle Washington Building Expert 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of North Central
    Local # 4957
    PO Box 2065
    Wenatchee, WA 98801

    Seattle Washington Building Expert 10/ 10

    MBuilders Association of Pierce County
    Local # 4977
    PO Box 1913 Suite 301
    Tacoma, WA 98401

    Seattle Washington Building Expert 10/ 10

    North Peninsula Builders Association
    Local # 4927
    PO Box 748
    Port Angeles, WA 98362
    Seattle Washington Building Expert 10/ 10

    Jefferson County Home Builders Association
    Local # 4947
    PO Box 1399
    Port Hadlock, WA 98339

    Seattle Washington Building Expert 10/ 10

    Building Expert News and Information
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    The Seattle, Washington Building Expert Group at BHA, leverages from the experience gained through more than 5,500 construction related expert witness designations encompassing a wide spectrum of construction related disputes. Drawing from this considerable body of experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to Seattle's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, as well as a variety of state and local government agencies.

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    Seattle, Washington

    Are Construction Defect Claims Covered Under CGL Policies?

    January 27, 2014 —
    Courts have ruled differently as to whether a construction defect is or is not an “occurrence,” according to the publication Business Insurance. Four states—Colorado, Arkansas, Hawaii and South Carolina—have sought to remove ambiguity by passing statutes that define construction defect claims as occurrences. Colorado, the first state to create such a statue, passed H. B. 10-1394 in May 2010. The state legislature passed the statute “because of the complex and lengthy endorsements and exclusions facing construction professionals, according to the bill” reported Business Insurance. The article stated that “incongruous court decisions over whether construction defect claims are covered under CGL policies continue to drive uncertainty in coverage and increase litigation costs.” Read the court decision
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    Construction Lien Waiver Provisions Contractors Should Be Using

    January 06, 2020 —
    It is common in construction for a subcontractor or material supplier of any tier to be required to provide a lien waiver when receiving payment. But not all lien waivers are created equal. While at a minimum, a lien waiver, by definition, needs to include a release of liens, it can also include many other terms that can tie up loose ends or resolve potential problems before they begin. Additional Releases A typical lien release is going to release any liens and right to claim liens on the subject property. But a lien waiver can also include releases of any claims against surety bonds, other statutory rights or claims, and at its broadest, claims against the paying party. One example of a provision that could help accomplish this is a release of “any right arising from a payment bond that complies with a state or federal statute, any common law payment bond right, any claim for payment, and any rights under any similar ordinance, rule, or statute related to claim or payment rights.” Broad release language can also be used to effectively preclude any claims arising prior to the date of the release. Payment Representations and Warranties A typical lien release has no representations or warranties about payment to subcontractors or material suppliers of a lower tier. But contractors can include language requiring the company receiving payment to represent and warrant that all subcontractors of a lower tier have been paid or will be paid within a certain timeframe using the funds provided and that these are material representations and inducements into providing payment. On a related note, if the contract requires subcontractors to provide lien releases from lower tier subcontractors in addition to their own release when seeking payment, contractors can require the sub-subcontractor releases to include representations that they have been paid by the subcontractor to try and tie up payment loose ends all around. Reprinted courtesy of Jason Lambert, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved. Read the court decision
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    Virtual Jury Trials: The Next Wave of Remote Legal Practice

    July 13, 2020 —
    One of the most obvious and unavoidable results of the COVID-19 crisis has been the postponement of jury service and, by extension, all jury trials. Given the inherent difficulties of convening juries in a world of social distancing, it is likely that multiple jurisdictions will be unable to conduct live jury trials for at least the next several months. Recognizing the mounting delay and substantial docket backlog that is attendant to several months without jury trials, one court most recently permitted the litigants, upon consent, to try a new innovation – the nation’s first virtual jury trial conducted entirely on the Zoom platform. More than two dozen potential jurors in Collin County, Texas attended jury selection from home by smartphone, laptop, and tablet, a process that was streamed live on YouTube. The presiding judge occasionally provided prospective jurors technical advice on how to best use their devices. Once selected, the jurors virtually attended a one-day, “summary jury trial” of an insurance dispute in which they heard a condensed version of the case and delivered a non-binding verdict. The parties were then able to gauge how their cases would fare before a jury in a full-scale trial and, with that insight, agreed to proceed to a mediation in an attempt to reach a resolution. Court officials further touted the abbreviated, non-binding experience as an ideal test for the viability of remotely holding jury trials that would result in a final judgment. This real-world test, albeit in a non-binding exercise, may be an indication of things to come, as courts in Indiana and Arizona have already communicated an intention to conduct jury trials remotely once able. Reprinted courtesy of David R. Zaslow, White and Williams and Mark Paladino, White and Williams Mr. Zaslow may be contacted at Mr. Paladino may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    You Can Take This Job and Shove It!

    June 10, 2015 —
    That’s it. You’ve had it. They can take their job and shove it! But can you really tell an owner on a construction project to proverbially shove it where the sun don’t shine? Well, far be it for me to tread on your First Amendment Rights or stick my nose into the subsequently brought public disturbance charges against you. But can you legally tell an owner to shove it, and that you’re no longer going to perform work on their [insert expletive] project? Well, indeed you can, in limited circumstances, and it’s called a “Stop Work Notice.” Note: A stop work notice is different from a stop payment notice. What is a stop work notice? A stop work notice is a notice given by a direct contractor to a project owner that the contractor will stop work if an amount owed to the contract is not paid within 10 days after notice is given. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Garret Murai, Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP
    Mr. Murai may be contacted at

    A Lien Might Just Save Your Small Construction Business

    April 04, 2011 —

    Many owners incorrectly believe that payment to the general contractor gets the owner off the hook for payment to subcontractors and suppliers. This assumption sometimes fosters the irresponsible owner, who fails to ensure that everyone is getting paid. Fortunately for those contractors further down the contracting chain, this assumption is incorrect.

    Suppliers and subcontractors can file a lien to secure payment for their labor and materials. A filing party must offer proper notice (if applicable) and file an adequate and timely lien in the County where the work is performed. You can read our earlier posts on these topics by following this link.

    A lien notice and a lien put an owner on notice that your business has provided labor and/or materials for the improvement of the owner’s property (See RCW 60.04.031 for more info). If the owner fails to take care to ensure that your business is paid the law mandates that the owner may have to pay twice.

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    Reprinted courtesy of Douglas Reiser of Reiser Legal LLC. Mr. Reiser can be contacted at

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    Virginia Tech Has Its Own Construction Boom

    May 10, 2013 —
    The last few years has been a tough time for the construction industry, unless you’re in the proximity to the campus of Virginia Tech. Since 1999, the school has seen more than $1 billion in construction projects. Charles Steger, the president of the university says that “we have no intention of slowing down.” Steger views some of the construction as vital to the school’s mission, noting that at Davidson Hall, which contains chemistry laboratories, “the wiring and other facilities were almost a health hazard.” The building is undergoing a $31 million renovation. In order to keep the campus walkable, parking lots are being replaced by parking garages. Four dormitory buildings will be demolished and replaced by new facilities. Funds for the development have come from a mix of student fees, donations, research revenues, bond issues, and taxpayer revenues. Read the court decision
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    Williams v. Athletic Field: Hugely Important Lien Case Argued Before Supreme Court

    June 17, 2011 —

    Well, it finally made it. The most important Washington lien case of recent memory was argued in front of the Washington Supreme Court on Tuesday, June 14, 2011. So, what should we all expect?

    As I was reading through my RSS feeds this afternoon ? I was stopped dead in my tracks. Williams v . Athletic Field, the Division II case that has been a frequent topic here on Builders Counsel, has finally been argued before the Supreme Court. All of you who have been anxiously awaiting this day, you can check out the Supreme Court submissions by following this link.

    The Williams case has been the center of attention for construction lawyers and construction organizations over the past year. Some have called for complete lien law reform, others have tried to patch a hole in the law. Now, we can expect a ruling from the highest court in the state. That ruling will have a major impact on whether the Legislature feels compelled to change lien law.

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    Reprinted courtesy of Douglas Reiser of Reiser Legal LLC. Mr. Reiser can be contacted at

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    Insurer Unable to Declare its Coverage Excess In Construction Defect Case

    January 06, 2012 —

    The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a summary judgment in the case of American Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Several other insurance companies were party to this case. In the earlier case, the US District Court of Appeals for Arizona had granted a summary judgment to Ohio Casualty Group and National Fire & Marine Insurance Company. At the heart of it, is a dispute over construction defect coverage.

    The general contractor for Astragal Luxury Villas, GFTDC, contracted with American Family to provide it with a commercial liability policy. Coverage was issued to various subcontractors by Ohio Casualty and National Fire. These policies included blanket additional insured endorsements that provided coverage to GFTDC. The subcontractor policies had provisions making their coverage excess over other policies available to GFTDC.

    The need for insurance was triggered when the Astragal Condominium Unit Owners Association filed a construction defect claim in the Arizona Superior Court. CFTDC filed a third-party claim against several subcontractors. The case was settled with American Family paying the settlement, after which it filed seeking reimbursement from the subcontractor’s insurers. The court instead granted summary judgment in favor of Ohio Casualty and National Fire.

    American Family appealed to the Ninth Circuit for a review of the summary judgment, arguing that the “other insurance” clauses were “mutually repugnant and unenforceable.” The Ninth Circuit cited a case from the Arizona Court of Appeals that held that “where two policies cover the same occurrence and both contain ‘other insurance’ clauses, the excess insurance provisions are mutually repugnant and must be disregarded. Each insurer is then liable for a pro rate share of the settlement or judgment.”

    The court noted that unlike other “other insurance” cases, the American Family policy “states that it provides primary CGL coverage for CFTDC and is rendered excess only if there is ‘any other primary insurance’ available to GFTDC as an additional insured.” They note that “the American Family policy purports to convert from primary to excess coverage only if CFTDC has access to other primary insurance as an additional insured.”

    In comparison, the court noted that “the ‘other insurance’ language in Ohio Casualty’s additional insured endorsement cannot reasonably be read to contradict, or otherwise be inconsistent with, the ‘other primary insurance’ provision in the American Family policy.” They find other reasons why National Fire’s coverage did not supersede American Family’s. In this case, the policy is “written explicitly to apply in excess.”

    Finally, the Astragal settlement did not exhaust American Family’s coverage, so they were obligated to pay out the full amount. The court upheld the summary dismissal of American Family’s claims.

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