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Construction Law: ALM Technology Report

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Updated: Apr 13th, 2021

Apply some appropriate principles of construction management, law, and ethics to analyze the following fact pattern.

In the provided case, Mounger Construction ordered ten new refrigerators from Southwest Supplier; each refrigerator was to cost $1,000, so the total sum would be $10,000. However, due to a mistake in the invoice sent by Southwest Supplier, an offer to purchase the refrigerators at a much lower total cost was signed. It is not clear what this offer was. All that is stated is that “Southwell mistakenly sends an invoice of $100 instead of $10,000”, so $100 is supposed to be the total sum. It is also stressed that “Mounger…says it has a contract for 10 refrigerators at a cost of $100 each,” so the total sum should be $1,000 (White 30).

It is clear that the fault lies with Southwest Supplier, as the invoice they sent contained a mistake. First, according to the original offer made by Southwest Supplier, Mounger Construction was to purchase the refrigerators at a price that is ten (or one hundred) times higher than the sum which was presented on the signed invoice. Second, it is clear that $10 (or even $100) is too low a price for a new refrigerator. Therefore, the mistake in the invoice made by Southwest Supplier should be classified as an obvious mistake (White 30-31).

According to the law, mistakes should be fixed where possible, and nobody should take advantage of them (White 29). Furthermore, if a mistake is obvious, it is “voidable by either party”, so Southwest Supplier and Mounger Construction can both refuse to execute the contract without any legal consequences (White 30).

Therefore, by signing a contract that contains an “obvious” mistake and demanding its execution, Mounger Construction carries out a breach in ethics, attempting to take advantage of another party and achieve profit by directly causing loss to that party.

For the following fact pattern please evaluate, analyze and argue any and all sides while utilizing principles and techniques we learned in class and in the text specifically related to construction contracts, documents, and codes.

According to the law, in a case where the contractor or the specialty subcontractor turns out to be incapable of building a system that would meet the requirements for that system formulated by the owner who ordered its construction, the contractor and/or the specialty subcontractor are considered to be responsible for the resulting damages and are obliged to compensate the loss to the owner (White 129).

Therefore, it is important to stress that the language utilized in the contract offered in the provided case serves to release the contractor from the described obligations, instead of making Hydro Engineering responsible for any changes, modifications, or adjustments which may be needed should any issues with the filtration systems emerge (White 130). In case of any problems, the government will be supposed to directly contact Hydro Engineering rather than turning to the contractors.

It should also be highlighted that, according to the given wording, Hydro Engineering is to alter, add to, or modify the water filtration systems should their performance become unsatisfactory. Potentially, this wording might be used to make Hydro Engineering responsible for any malfunctions in the equipment, even if these malfunctions are a result of the misuse conducted by the government body utilizing the filters. However, the contract contains the phrase “for the performance of the waste-water filtration system as specified,” so it is clear that the conditions under which Hydro Engineering is to carry out any fixes on the equipment must be specified in detail in some other part of the contract.

For the following fact pattern, please evaluate, analyze and argue any and all sides with a specific emphasis on how engineering technology solutions have an impact on our society and our global interactions.

The provided case is related to the issue of commercial senselessness/practical impossibility. The notion of commercial senselessness is utilized to safeguard a contractor from unexpected extreme expenses. However, if the contractor willingly accepts the risk, the responsibility to carry out the agreement is still theirs (White 137). In the given case, Natus Corporation willingly accepted the risk related to the production of portable steel airplane landing mats (ALMs), a new technology at that time. In addition, it is stated that “the mats could be produced using a slower speed process that was not as profitable to Natus” (White 139), and from this wording, it follows that Natus would still make profits. So, it is clear that the contract should not be canceled or amended according to the laws about “commercial senselessness”.

It is also important to stress that engineering solutions often have a significant impact on society (DeJong-Okamoto, Rhee, and Mourtos 78). For instance, in the case of ALMs, this technology permits the creation of temporary airfields in places where there is no need for a permanent airfield, or in situations when the establishment of a permanent airfield would be too time-consuming. It is clear that ALMs may allow for the significant economy of numerous types of resources, including airplane fuel, the time it would take to create a permanent airfield, the spending involved in the construction of such an airfield, or the costs necessary for the transportation of the supplies brought in on an airplane from the nearest permanent airfield to the desired location. In addition, the use of the ALM technology may positively influence a country’s global interactions, e.g. by allowing for quicker delivery of products to the desired location. Therefore, the fulfillment of the contract with Natus was important for the government.

However, it is also important to stress that some technological phenomena may also have an adverse influence; for instance, nuclear power plants may pose a danger if used inappropriately, whereas weapons can be used to bring destruction, even if it is profitable to some parties (DeJong-Okamoto, Rhee, and Mourtos 77).

Works Cited

DeJong-Okamoto, Nicole, Jinny Rhee, and Nikos J. Mourtos. “Incorporating the Impact of Engineering Solutions on Society into Technical Engineering Courses.” Global Journal of Engineering Education 9.1 (2005): 77-87. Web.

White, Nancy J. Construction Law for Managers, Architects and Engineers. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning, 2007. Print.

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