Overview

About Colm

Colm Nelson represents public owners, private owners and developers, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, design professionals, brokers, and lenders in a wide variety of construction transactions, construction litigation, procurement and real estate matters. He has more than 15 years of experience in the construction industry and negotiates complex construction and design contracts for public and private owners. Colm represents clients in disputes over bid protests, construction defects and property damage, extra work and delay claims, errors and omissions in design documents, tenant improvements, breach of warranty, insurance coverage against insurance companies, and mechanic’s liens. He also has substantial experience handling procurement issues for public, quasi-public and private entities and related projects with respect to construction, services and goods.

Colm enjoys developing a deep understanding of his client’s particular business and then partnering with that client to create forms, procure the appropriate insurance, and establish procedures that are both practical and effective in reducing his client’s risk. In situations where disputes are unavoidable, Colm has experience in redirecting the tone and direction of discussions and resolving matters through favorable settlements before litigation ensues. He has also carefully created and implemented litigation strategies that are designed to navigate his clients through each step of a complex lawsuit and tailored to meet that client’s particular needs and budget. Colm has experience representing clients in various levels of state court and federal court and in multiple arbitration forums.

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Experience

Experience

Representative Construction Transactions

  • Assisting a number of project owners developing towers in downtown Seattle, including negotiating design and construction contracts, as well as providing pre-litigation risk management advice.
  • Negotiated construction contract for bottling facility on behalf of large food and beverage industry client.
  • Negotiated construction contracts for distilling facility on behalf of beverage client.
  • Negotiated construction contract for a sports stadium on behalf of developer client.
  • Assisted housing authority clients in drafting procurement policies in conformance with both state and federal procurement laws, as well as in negotiating numerous Guaranteed Maximum Price contracts in the range of $20 million to $40 million.
  • Represented numerous multifamily mixed-use project owners in Guaranteed Maximum Price and design-build contract negotiations ranging from $10 million to $80 million.
  • Assisted HUD/HFA project owners in contract drafting for projects ranging from $20 million to $35 million.
  • Represented owners of tax-credit multifamily projects ranging from $2 million to $25 million.
  • Represented project owners in contract negotiations for construction and refurbishment of hotels, ranging from $15 million to $20 million.
  • Represented health care providers in negotiating design and construction contracts for hospitals and health care facilities, including General Contractor / Construction Manager agreements ranging from $100,000 to $200 million.
  • Represented school districts in negotiating design and construction contracts for schools, including General Contractor / Construction Manager agreements ranging from $20,000 to $35 million.
  • Represented manufacturers and energy provider in negotiating Engineering, Procurement, Construction contracts including (FIDIC forms).

Representative Construction Dispute Matters

  • Successfully represented tower developer in dispute with adjacent property owner, avoiding project delays and increased construction costs estimated to be tens of millions of dollars.
  • Represent national contractor in a number of collection matters in Washington, including lien foreclosure actions.
  • Represented Washington ports, school districts, housing authorities, cities and other municipalities in various public works disputes, from bid protests to retainage release disputes.
  • Represented private developers, hotel owners, landlords, and tenants, in various disputes concerning design and construction of projects typically valued at between $10 million and $200 million.
  • Represented client in appeal of approval of hydropower dam project by the Project Review Committee of the Capital Project Advisory Review Board (CPARB), which is charged with reviewing and approving (or rejecting) alternative public works projects under Ch. 39.10 RCW. The approval was appealed to CPARB by certain groups based on administrative law and constitutional grounds, but CPARB ultimately rejected the appeal, including both the administrative and constitutional challenges. The project was unanimously approved and resulted in the creation of appellate rules by CPARB for project appeals.
  • Defended a Washington State building owner in its termination of a pre-construction agreement with a joint-venture prime contractor concerning an over $1 billion expansion project. The contractor sought, among other things, an order enjoining the project from proceeding with another contractor. Successfully defeated the injunction and ultimately settled the disputed, allowing the project to move forward.
  • Represented a federal contractor in a bid protest challenging the legality of $260 million procurement by a federal agency. Represented the contractor in numerous venues, including at the Government Accountability Office, the Court of Federal Claims, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. In 2015, the agency ultimately withdrew the procurement, agreeing to comply with an order issued by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that had adopted the position advocated by the contractor.
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Honors

Honors & Activities

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Member, Construction Law Forum, American Bar Association
  • Vice Chair, Construction Law Section, Washington State Bar Association
  • Council Member, Washington State Bar Association, Construction Law Section Council
  • Member, Legal Affairs Committee, Associated General Contractors of Washington
  • Member, Washington Defense Trial Lawyers
  • Member, Design-Build Institute of America
  • Past Member, Construction Owners Association of America
  • Member of practice group nationally ranked Tier 1 for Construction Law, 2010–2020 | Construction Litigation, 2015–2020, by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®Best Law Firms

Civic Activities

  • School Commissioner, Assumption St. Bridget School
  • Member, Beta Gamma Sigma
  • Past Board Member, Green Plate Special
  • Trial Fellow, King County Prosecutor’s Office, 2011
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • Chapter on Construction Litigation, co-author, Washington Construction Law Deskbook, WSBA
  • “Construction Issues for Improvements,” 31st Annual Advanced Conference On Commercial Real Estate Leases, Dec. 2019
  • “When a contractor refuses to perform work without a change order,” Daily Journal of Commerce, June 2019
  • “Severin and Independent Duty Doctrine Update,” Construction Law Section Annual CLE, WSBA, June 2019
  • “Protecting Against Risk – Insurance and Indemnity,” Bidding Public Works & Construction Contracts, The Seminar Group, June 2019
  • “Design-Build Contracts,” Market Mash 2018, Society for Marketing Professional Services, June 2018
  • “Key Risk-Shifting Provisions for Owners and Contractors,” Bidding Public Works and Construction Contracts, The Seminar Group, May 2018
  • “Case Law Update,” 2nd Annual Construction Project Challenges, The Seminar Group, Dec. 2017
  • “Washington Statutes Affecting Construction,” Construction Law Section Annual Seminar, WSBA, June 2017
  • “Pre-Construction Risk Management,” Construction Project Challenges in Seattle, The Seminar Group, Dec. 2016
  • “Construction Law,” 15th Annual CLE Bootcamp, The Seminar Group, Dec. 2016
  • “Bidder Responsibility Criteria for Public Works Construction Projects: How to Ensure Your Low Bidder Can Do the Job,” Municipal and PUD Attorneys Education Seminar, June 2016
  • “Projects with Challenging Site Conditions: Managing the Risks,” Washington Public Ports Association Spring Meeting, May 2016
  • “Protecting Against Risk,” Bidding Public Works and Construction Contracts, The Seminar Group, May and March 2016
  • “Contemporary Ethics Challenges in Construction Law,” Construction Law: Designs, Delays, Disputes, and Delivery, Sterling Education Services, April 2016
  • “Procurement Update for Housing Authorities,” Client Briefing, April 2016
  • “Washington State Prevailing Wages,” Client Briefing, April 2016
  • “Differing Site Conditions on Washington State Construction Projects and Ways to Allocate Economic Risk Associated With These Conditions,” Washington Public Utility Districts Association, Sept. 2015
  • “Jobsite Safety,” AGC of Washington, Northern District, Fall 2014
  • “Dispute Resolution, Options, and Information Required from a Legal Perspective,” NWAIA and AGC Sponsored Event, Sept. 2013
  • “Construction Defect Litigation Overview,” NBI CLE, Sept. 2012
  • “Construction: Contracting, Litigation, Procurement and CPARB,” 2012 Association of Washington Housing Authorities (AWHA), April 2012
  • “Public Works Contracting/Litigation,” 2012 National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, April 2012
  • “Construction Changes,” University of Washington Construction Management Program, May 2011 & May 2012
  • “Construction Roundtable,” Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys, May 2010
  • “Public Bidding Procedures and Bid Contests,” Lorman CLE, July 2010



Related News & Publications


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