Annual U.S. Construction and Engineering Conference 2021

Our annual U.S. Construction and Engineering Conference was held virtually on Thursday, 13 May. This year's interactive conference focused on current issues affecting the construction and engineering industry within the United States, including the effects of the new administration on the construction industry, how recent arbitral rule revisions may affect the resolution of construction disputes, and recommendations for drafting and negotiating key construction contract provisions going forward.

During the program our team focused on practical advice for mitigating risks and resolving disputes surrounding the topics below:

  • Building back to the future: What you aren't hearing on the news about "building back better" and the future of construction in the new political climate. What's the realistic "build back better" result? What might a new American infrastructure look like under a divided Congress? Who will win and who will lose? In this featured session a well-known and forward-leaning panel of industry experts gave the heads-up on the likely future of the new administration's infrastructure plan and what it will mean to our industry in the coming years. From the political angle of what's possible to a nuts-and-bolts discussion of the near-term for roads and bridges, electric-vehicle support, offshore wind, solar, and other energy projects where both industry and politics are aligned.
  • A look behind the curtain: How rule revisions may affect construction disputes and how to efficiently and effectively handle construction arbitrations in the new normal. During this session, we heard from alternative dispute resolution professionals and arbitrators. They discussed the recent changes to the rules of various arbitral organizations, and how the revised rules may affect future construction and engineering disputes. We also hosted a fireside chat with a panel of current arbitrators as they shared their views on how to effectively move through the arbitration process in the new normal.
  • A look ahead: Understanding force majeure and post-COVID-19 modifications. This session looked at typical force majeure clauses, including how force majeure clauses apply to specific issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, whether force majeure clauses cover "pandemics" at all, and, if so, how such provisions are being applied in the post-COVID-19 world. There was also a crossfire-style discussion from the perspective of both owner and contractor with varying interpretations of construction contract provisions and recommendations for drafting and negotiating reasonable COVID-19/force majeure provisions in construction contracts going forward. The session concluded with a panel discussion of preeminent experts who discussed quantifying COVID-19 claims and their experience thus far with them, including use of artificial intelligence to more accurately quantify, substantiate, and prove such claims.

Members of our global Construction & Engineering practice were joined by an exceptional lineup of guest speakers.

If you would like more information or to view the recording, please email Kate Stillman.

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