Law Office of Scott G. Thomas

Construction Law Services

I provide legal services to contractors, owners, developers, suppliers, sureties, professional service providers, small business owners, architects and engineers. My expertise centers around commercial and residential construction projects, recording of liens, construction defect claims, the preparation and review of contracts, and contract disputes.

Contract drafting and negotiation

My clients frequently think of contracts as relationship building tools. A typical construction business has a contractual relationship with its customers, suppliers, and employees, whether oral or written. And, the business’ owners likely owe a fiduciary duty to each other to grow the business, treat each other fairly, and divide the profits equitably.

Reasonable people often have innocent misunderstandings about the terms of their business dealings. Some of those misunderstandings turn into full blown disputes. Those disputes usually destroy beneficial relationships, reduce productivity, and cause a small business owner unneeded stress and legal fees.

A professionally drafted and properly executed contract will help business owners manage risk, avoid unnecessary disputes, limit liability, and avoid unintended legal obligations. In my experience, people who insist on written agreements grow their businesses more easily. My contract drafting and contract review service allow you to maintain contracts proactively and minimize legal and business risks resulting from inconsistent language. My knowledge of the construction industry provides you with a competitive advantage by allowing me to identify issues that can result in unexpected problems, before those problems arise.

Project procurement and bid protests

A bid protest is a challenge to the award or proposed award of a contract for procurement of goods and services or a challenge to the terms of a solicitation for such a contract. If you are contemplating filing a protest, or are the winning bidder and a protest has been filed by a disappointed competitor, I can help you with the following:

Bid Protest Analysis. I can assess the bidding irregularities, and provide you with a full and frank analysis of the risks and benefits of proceeding with a protest and give you an idea of the likelihood of success.

Bid Protest Technical Review. Filing a bid protest can be a complex matter. Short deadlines and little-known technical rules can lead to dismissal of a protest. I can help you identify the appropriate filing deadlines and avoid other technical pitfalls.

Bid Protest Preparation and Filing. The key to any successful bid protest is a strong and well-written bid protest document. Citing case law and other applicable laws and regulations, I can prepare a thorough and compelling protest on your behalf.

Bid Protest Intervention (Defense). If a competitor protests your contract award, you do not need to stay on the sidelines and hope for the best. Instead, you may be entitled to intervene in the bid protest process and explain why the agency’s award decision should stand. I can intervene in a protest on your behalf and help preserve your contract award.

Lien claims

If you've done work on a construction project and haven't been paid, Washington laws may provide you with lien rights. For a contractor, materials supplier, or design professional to take advantage of this powerful collection tool, it's important that they closely follow the technical lien laws. A lien may:

Prevent the sale of the property;

Tie up progress payments or funding of the job;

Transform the property into security for payment for the claim;

Allow a worker or subcontractor to sue the owner for work performed, even if they didn't contract with the owner directly;

Allow the lien claimant to recover attorney fees and legal costs against non-paying parties.

I can help contractors, subcontractors, materials suppliers, workers, design professionals, and land owners:

Navigate complex lien filing rules;

Assess the likelihood of prevailing on a lien;

Have frivolous liens dismissed.

Surety Claims

A surety bond is a three-party agreement between the contractor, the owner of the construction project, and the surety in which the surety agrees to uphold, for the benefit of the owner, the contractual obligations of the contractor if the contractor fails to do so. Bonds typically come in three different forms: a payment bond, which assures the owner that the contractor will pay all workers and materials suppliers on the job; the performance bond, which assures the owner that the contractor will finish the project; and a public works bond, which is a combination performance and payment bond.

I can help owners make claims against a bond, and navigate the complex process of negotiating with the surety.

Claim preparation and negotiation.

Because of their complexity, even the best-planned construction projects can lead to litigation. I work to resolve claims, including extra work claims, labor inefficiency claims and claims for default terminations and terminations for convenience.

Dispute resolution - mediation, arbitration & litigation

All the "moving parts" of construction and development projects involve countless and continuous challenges. Disputes are almost inevitable in large Washington commercial and residential construction projects, where there are numerous parties and unpredictable weather. I provide effective and efficient legal representation to owners, developers, design professionals, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers involved in construction disputes, through arbitration, mediation, or litigation.