Construction Law & Policy

construction-related claims

Our attorneys and consultants have experience with a wide range of construction-related claims. Not only do we understand the complexities of construction environments, but we bring a valuable perspective having seen both sides of cases. We've worked on projects both large and small. Our clients range from the U.S. Government to top tier real estate developers and those looking to develop a single group home. We bring the necessary resources to bear to fully understand your claim or situation. Let us help you assess your claim or conduct a risk analysis to prevent the conditions that lead to claims by others. 

construction permitting

We've worked at the national level to help set policies that foster a strong construction sector as a major driver of economic growth and employment. And at the local level, we've helped local governments change the way they set permit fees and issue construction permits, making the country more attractive to investors, creating more effective and efficient government service delivery, and providing citizens with value in the form of technical services in exchange for their permit fees. 

  • Creating Administrative and regulatory framework to implement existing laws.

  • Capacity building and public administration reform at the local and national levels.

  • Public outreach to increase demand for governmental transparency and accountability.

  • Assisted in Kosovo’s improvement in World Bank Doing Business Report:

o   Doing Business 2013 - Kosovo achieved highest total country improvement (+28) of all 185 countries and highest net improvement (+170) across indicators;

o   Doing Business 2014 - Kosovo named a Top Reformer with recognition of significant additional reforms in construction permitting.



representative claims & litigation

  • Special consultant to U.S. Government to assess over $100 million dollars of design defects in 1 million s.f. hospital complex under construction
  • Successful multi-million dollar recovery for construction defects in 27-building Class A apartment complex in case involving over 40 parties
  • Multi-million dollar settlement of insurance coverage suit in which coverage had been completely denied after affordable senior housing complex was destroyed by arson
  • Resolution of severe personal injury to disabled person caused by wrongly installed handicapped grab bars
It was a pleasure to work with Michelle. She helped our municipality implement construction permitting procedures that made processes more transparent, improved services for citizens, and gave us needed management tools.
— Liburn Aliu, Minister of Parliament and former Director of Urbanism, Pristina, Kosovo

informal constructions

Conditions leading up to informal or "unpermitted" constructions are generally multi-faceted and efficient construction permitting procedures should be instilled and property rights registration made accessible to prevent the continued creation of informal structures in the future. But what about the informal constructions that are already built? These informal constructions represent "dead capital" that deprives people in developing economies of the economic power they need to prosper. Without a permit, constructions cannot be registered in property rights databases and the owners of the buildings cannot fully enjoy and leverage their property interests for future growth. Not only do we believe that something should be done about it, but we believe that something can be done about it. 

case study

The war in Kosovo saw over 800,000 people expelled from the country and almost 600,000 internally displaced. In their absence, homes, schools and businesses were burned, decimating entire villages. When people were able to return, they naturally started immediately to rebuild. But government structures were not fully in place and could not keep up with the immense rebuilding campaign. Some also took advantage of the lack of structure and inefficiencies to build more. As a result, massive numbers of buildings sprung up across the country that were built without a permit, did not adhere to any building code, and could not be registered in the property rights database. We supported the Government of Kosovo first to reform the construction permitting and spatial planning systems to prevent unpermitted buildings in the future. We then helped launch a coordinated effort between the central government, municipalities, and citizens to begin dealing with the existing informal constructions. After setting targets and goals, finding necessary resources, creating an organizational structure, developing a technical solution, and implementing a broad-based public outreach campaign, over 352,000 informal buildings were identified and mapped. We continued to support the Government in an iterative process to revise the law to account for the magnitude of informal buildings and this process continues today. It will be a long road, but we are confident that Kosovo is on target to freeing up an estimated €7 billion in capital to promote economic development.