Real Estate, Construction and Facilities

Design and Construction Law

Wiggin and Dana's Design and Construction Law Practice Group consists of both seasoned litigators and skilled transactional attorneys experienced in all facets of construction and development matters, including design and conceptualization, financing (both public and private), pre-construction, contract drafting and negotiation, bidding, change orders and modifications, closeout, facility/property management, and contract disputes. We regularly collaborate with colleagues in other departments, including real estate and environmental, corporate, complex commercial litigation, insurance, government, tax, and energy and utilities. Many of the attorneys in the Practice Group came from design, engineering, construction, property management, or military and government service, giving them intimate familiarity with the construction industry and with the laws and regulations that affect the industry.

The group's transactional attorneys counsel clients throughout all phases of construction projects. They advise clients regarding various project delivery models (e.g., design-build, engineer-procure-construct, stipulated sum, cost-plus, guaranteed maximum price) and the various industry standard documents and contracts in design and construction (e.g., AIA and ConsensusDOCS). Although standard documents and templates serve a purpose, any template needs to be tailored to the project. Our transactional attorneys balance aggressive and comprehensive representation, with efficient drafting of contract documents to allocate risk and memorialize the parties' agreement, mindful of the size and scope of the project.

When disputes arise, our litigators counsel clients on pre-litigation risk assessment and avoidance, and when necessary, represent clients in the litigation and trial of disputes. Our trial lawyers handle matters throughout the United States and when appropriate, pursue mediation, arbitration, or other alternative dispute mechanisms. The Practice Group represents clients following catastrophic events and major accidents at construction sites and industrial facilities, including in connection with investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the U.S. Attorney's Office, and other federal, state, and local agencies. The Practice Group also represents clients under investigation for alleged MBE and DBE non-compliance.

Our clients include public and private owners and developers, architects and other design professionals, investors, lenders, construction managers, general contractors, subcontractors, and insurers. The projects on which we've assisted such clients include large commercial office, tenant fit-out, multi-family residential, hospital and healthcare, municipal and educational, museum, utilities, power generation, electric transmission, clean coal, microgrid, and high-end private residential. Below is a list of selected representative matters. For a more comprehensive list, please view the Experience tab above.

Representative Transactional Matters

  • Advised a publicly traded company in connection with design, commissioning, and construction-management agreements for a multi-story, $100,000,000+ tenant fit-out consisting of over 400,000 square feet of laboratory, office, and future expansion space.
  • Counseled a nonprofit in connection with the design and construction of an approximately 173,000-square-foot, $100,000,000+, state-of-the-art LEED Gold certified research facility.
  • Represented a joint venture (JV) of two public companies, in connection with the JV's development of two electric power peaking generation plants, including the negotiation of design and construction agreements and resolution of project disputes.

Representative Litigation Matters

  • Represented a European subcontractor in a dispute between the owner and the general contractor of the World Trade Center transportation hub, concerning quality of materials and timeliness of delivery.
  • Represented contractors following catastrophic events / fatalities at the worksite. Conducted internal investigations into the causes of accidents and represented contractors in connection with federal and state criminal investigations and OSHA investigations.
  • Defended a contractor in court and in arbitration from claims alleging it was responsible for an explosion during the startup and commissioning of a combined cycle power generation plant that killed six workers, injured more than 50, and caused more than $500 million in property damage.