New School Construction: Putting a Failed Project Back On Track

A Long Island school district embarked upon what was to be an approximately one-year project involving the construction of a new three-story school building connecting two existing school buildings (which were also going to be extensively renovated). By the time John E. Osborn P.C. was retained: four years had passed, the project was still incomplete, a significant number of defects had come to light, a number of the original project team members (trade contractors and the original construction manager) had been defaulted or left the project, a new construction manager had been retained, and the original architect had entered into a new agreement with the district to complete the project.

Our Firm was charged with ensuring that the project was properly completed and investigating the prior failures to recover damages from the responsible parties.  We were instrumental in disengaging and replacing the original architect and retaining a replacement construction manager.  The new team worked together to successfully complete the project. John E. Osborn P.C. worked closely with the New York State Education Department (“SED”) to ensure that the project, which was not initially in full compliance with SED requirements, was performed (and all paperwork was completed and approved) as required by the SED – and in such a manner as to maximize state aid. Project completion was successfully achieved, the project was successfully closed out with the SED (in a manner that achieved maximum state aid), and John E. Osborn P.C. was instrumental in settling the lawsuit for errors, omissions and construction defects for $2.5 million on behalf of the school district.


Insurance Claim Recovery for School District on High School Wall Collapse after Initial Denial of Coverage without Resort to Litigation

When a wall collapsed at a high school, the school district submitted a claim to its insurance carrier (New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal) and the claim was initially denied coverage. John E. Osborn P.C. pursued the claim with NYSIR and ultimately obtained coverage for the claim as desired by the district. Although extremely reluctant to extend coverage at the outset, our Firm (with the assistance of the district’s construction consultants on technical matters) engaged in numerous discussions and meetings with NYSIR and its construction representatives and convinced NYSIR to agree to extend coverage to the claim.  This was achieved without resorting to litigation in an aggressive yet amicable manner.  In fact, the final claim payment included reimbursement to the district for legal fees in the full amount requested.


Negotiation and Settlement of Architect’s Claims for Additional Services and Calculation of Fee During Construction

Our Firm was introduced to a school project after the design phase was completed.  Following retention, we were advised of a significant number of additional services claims presented by the district’s architect. In addition, a dispute arose regarding the interpretation of the contract provisions setting forth the method for calculating the architect’s fee.  We worked closely with the district’s business official and the construction manager to evaluate the additional services claim and develop an objective interpretation of the contract provisions regarding the architect’s fee.  Once this objective analysis was complete, we diligently, and with great detail, negotiated the additional services and fee claims such that we ultimately achieved resolution at the desired amount.  This was negotiated during the construction of the project (and design phases of other parts of the project) in a professional and amicable manner so that the business relationship between the district and the architect could be maintained for the good of the project.


John E. Osborn P.C. Assists Operation Clean House: Asbestos Re-Inspection of New York City Schools

When the New York City School Construction Authority and the New York City Board of Education’s Inspectors General uncovered information that cast doubt on the accuracy of the federally mandated AHERA asbestos inspections carried out in the 1980’s, the Board of Education retained an environmental consultant in 1993 to re-inspect all of the City’s 1,069 school buildings. John E. Osborn P.C. was retained by the environmental consultant to assist in developing the strategy to successfully carry out this assignment and to assure appropriate legal and financial protection. We were chosen for this assignment based on our Firm’s credentials in training asbestos designers, contractors and workers for a five-year period at New York University through licensing courses mandated by Federal, State and local laws. We were also chosen for our Firm’s in-depth knowledge of the asbestos abatement industry and our participation as a presenter before the National Asbestos Council (now known as the Environmental Information Association – EIA).


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