Design & Construction Law

Experienced Construction Attorney & Licensed Architect Who Understands Construction

Gary L. Cole AIA, Esq. is a construction attorney who combines his unique training and experience as a licensed architect, hands-on construction contractor and professor of architecture with his extensive legal experience to provide insightful legal representation to developers, property owners, public entities, architects, engineers, general and sub-contractors. With his construction and design industry insider’s knowledge of the methods and materials of the construction process, he can quickly assess and understand the physical and management issues that give rise to construction disputes – often without the need or expense of experts – thereby providing value-driven, cost-effective legal services. He places strong emphasis on communicating complex legal issues in the language of the real estate, design and construction industries so that non-attorney parties can make effective and informed decisions.

He is able to examine project construction documents and reports, and conduct personal site inspections to quickly determine the cause of design and construction defects, material and structural failure, change order disputes, contract breaches, delay claims, lien claims, unforeseen site conditions, and a wide range of other causes of construction-related disputes, and translate those findings into proper legal strategies. For over a decade he was a Visiting Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Illinois and taught hands-on construction techniques, building documentation, failure investigation and material forensics.

As a construction attorney Mr. Cole has been involved in a wide range of dispute and transactional matters both domestically and overseas, ranging from under $1 million to approximately $250 million in cost on residential, retail, office, roadway and industrial development, telecommunication, power generation and historic rehabilitation projects. He has worked with many different standard contract types including those produced by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee (EJCDC), and the Association of General Contractors (AGC), as well as many custom construction contracts.

Mr. Cole is also a construction arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and is a Certified Mediator.

Design & Construction Transactional Legal Services

With an emphasis on clarity, completeness and risk management, Mr. Cole has prepared tightly drafted, but fair design and construction contracts and service agreements for architects and engineers, property owners and developers, public entities, contractors, subcontractors and consultants for a wide variety of residential, commercial, office and industrial projects including single-family homes and condominiums; shopping centers and other retail development; office and retail tenant build-outs; roadway development; industrial development projects both within the U.S and abroad. Mr. Cole also specializes in providing contract and compliance review services for a wide range of design and construction matters, including those related to historic rehabilitation and accessibility matters for avoiding conflicts with state and federal enforcement agencies.

Legal Services

– Owner-Architect/Engineer Agreements

– Owner-Contractor Agreements

– Subcontractor Agreements

– Contract/General & Supplemental Conditions Review

– Contract Risk Management Review

– State and Federal Accessibility Compliance & Report Review

– State and Federal Historic Preservation Regulatory Compliance Agreements

– Historic Rehabilitation/Restoration Agreements

– Consultant & Material Supplier Agreements

– Joint Venture Agreements

– Legal Entity Formation

Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation Legal Services

Mr. Cole uses his architect’s experience to quickly assess the strengths and weaknesses of design and construction disputes by examining construction drawings, specifications, project manuals and records, site inspections and expert forensics reports for construction defect, delays, contract breach and non-performance, and mechanics lien matters. By using his training as both an architect and attorney to understand both the physical and legal nature of any construction issues, clients are often able to realize significant costs savings in determining the strengths and weakness of disputes. As a licensed architect, a former Visiting Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Illinois’s Graduate School of Architecture for over a decade and co-author of an Illinois legal treatise on Historic Preservation Law, Mr. Cole can also provide historic preservation and accessibility expert witness services himself, as well as provide expert witness selection and vetting services.

Legal Services

– Design and Construction Defects

– Contract Performance and Breach Issues

– Mechanics Liens

– Design, Construction, Accessibility and Historic Preservation Expert Witness

– Design and Construction Litigation Co-Counsel Consultation

– Expert Witness Selection and Vetting

– State and Federal Accessibility Disputes

– Historic Rehabilitation/Restoration Disputes

– Mediation and Informal Dispute Resolution

– Payment and Fee Collection