Annual Meeting ‘22: Keeping a Legal Lid on Construction Costs

Session 104 Panelists

William Cotter, V.P., General Counsel & Federal Program Manager, Cotter Consulting, Inc. 
Suzanne Decker, Partner, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP 
Yvette Landau, Co-Owner, W.A. Richardson Builders, LLC 
Evangelin Tuft, Associate General Counsel, McKinsey & Company 

What was the most valuable thing you learned during this session?  

“Keeping a lid on construction costs is very difficult right now and you need to get professionals at the table to assist with that.”


Hope for the best, plan for the worst

  • With the exception of the government, everyone involved in the project has a common interest: doing a good job and making money. If someone is not making money, you won’t get to the finish line.  
  • Owners' representatives can be the eyes and ears for what’s going on in the market. There is no substitute for having someone on the ground looking out for your interests.  
  • The design approach dictates which type of construction contract you will use: Design-Bid-Build (traditional approach) or Design-Build Approach (fast track). 
  • Rising interest rates have had a considerable impact on residential construction costs.
  • Single-family home costs rose significantly over the past year.  

The forecast for 2023 is unpredictable and like riding a wave. Will costs stabilize and decrease? Or will demand rise causing an increase in costs? The most important thing to do, while wearing your lawyer hat — in a world where you don’t know what’s going to happen next — is to make sure everyone is protecting their interest to deal with either of these scenarios. 

Suzanne Decker, Partner, Fried Frank 
Presenters address attendees in Session 104.