What's it like to work with F3?
We are your knowledgeable, friendly, and enthusiastic partners and collaborators in helping you reach your goal with our simple goals: an anxiety-free experience for you, and your unique project successfully delivered on time, within budget, and according to your specifications. Whatever project you are undertaking, you’re still educators first, so we do all we can to keep you focused on what you do best while we focus on getting the project done.
What can F3 solve for you?
With our hard hats on and our deep experience in every phase of school-related facilities and construction, F3 is here to assist in all areas of new construction, renovation, and modernization of facilities. From start to finish – concept to close-out – you can count on the legal team that knows education to make sure your students, faculty, and staff have the facilities you need in which to teach and learn.
Top Issues in Facilities & Construction
“At the end of every day, our team rightly feels a sense of accomplishment knowing that we played an important role in building a new science center, classroom building, or athletics complex – wherever the critical process of education happens.”– Jessica Ehrlich, Partner
Education needs a place to happen, but the responsibility for managing the enormous complexities of public school facilities management and construction should not fall on those whose job is educating students. That’s our job at F3, an established leader in public school district, community college, and higher education facilities and construction matters, including all phases of new construction, renovation, and modernization projects. Our mantra: “on time and within budget.” Our method: long experience and detailed knowledge of how educational institutions operate, how projects are funded and approved, how agreements and contracts should be negotiated and drafted, and how procurement should be managed. In other words, everything from concept to closeout.
Our highly experienced and personable attorneys regularly handle preconstruction, construction, and postconstruction processes and challenges, freeing educators from those concerns. Superintendents, school boards, CBOs, business managers, department directors, and others look to F3 attorneys for counsel on bidding and procurement, construction financing, general contracting, environmental compliance, disputes and litigation, and much more. Highly respected for our experience in this area, we are often asked to present at conferences hosted by the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), California School Boards Association (CSBA) and California IT in Education (CITE). We also frequently deliver presentations and board workshops regarding public contracting and construction delivery methods, project labor agreements, and educational fundraising issues. In fact, one of F3’s attorneys co-authored CASBO’s Guide to Public Bidding.
Supporting clients through preconstruction funding, bidding, and compliance
Before construction even begins, F3 attorneys help districts through the funding and public bidding processes, including supporting districts in instituting and administering bond programs, developing RFPs, managing the bidding process and related disputes, the prequalification process and oversight, contractor administration, change order disputes and negotiations, and prevailing wage and labor compliance issues. We also strategically advise and represent clients in navigating a broad range of complex environmental and zoning issues, including preparation and certification of documents in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) compliance, air quality and greenhouse gas assessment, environmental mitigation monitoring, and compliance with all federal and state environmental rules and regulations.
Providing guidance on bond financing
F3 attorneys are experienced in advising school districts regarding use of bond funds and the implications of these funding mechanisms on public construction projects, as well as conflict-of-interest considerations and related concerns associated with bond campaigns and public messaging. Several of our attorneys have also provided statewide presentations alongside Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Teams (“FCMAT”) and county office of education officials.
Guiding schools through all phases of construction
Our experience covers all areas of new construction, renovation and modernization, including drafting and upgrading construction contracts and front-end documents and advising on construction delivery methods, as well as all procurement matters. We pride ourselves on creating strong working relationships and maintaining open communication with project teams to work collaboratively to achieve project completion. Our extensive contracting experience includes a wide range of architect, contractor, and construction manager contracts as well as traditional bid-build construction agreements and alternative project delivery systems such as construction-manager-at-risk, lease-leaseback, and design-build agreements. At every phase of the construction project, we’re there to help ensure regulatory compliance, schedules are met, changes are managed properly, labor issues are resolved, and costs are managed.
Managing the post-construction process
Once construction is completed, the project closeout phase begins, and F3 is there to help with such processes as claim preparation and analysis. At a project’s conclusion, contractors are typically closing the project on their end and tabulating costs, which often results in contractor claims that may be difficult to resolve. Project closeout claims may be for contractor costs such as unresolved change orders, materials storage, project security, parking, clean-up, or other costs. Because of the positive relationships and communications we establish with contractors, these claims are often negotiated amicably. If not, however, we are fully prepared to advocate our client’s position in any dispute-resolution forum.
Avoiding and resolving construction disputes
Facilities and construction litigation comes in many forms, such as contractor defaults, surety disputes, extra work, delay and stop notice claims, construction consultant disputes, and false claims issues. But most litigation has two things in common. First, it’s time-consuming, expensive, and a distraction. Second, it can generally be avoided with thoughtfully negotiated and drafted agreements up front. Our experience as litigators is precisely what helps us prevent the causes of most litigation. But be assured: when disputes can’t be prevented, F3 attorneys are skilled advocates in settlement negotiations, mediation, and arbitration – how most disputed are resolved – and skilled trial lawyers in state and federal courts.
Implementing renewable energy strategies
When facilities and construction projects involve efforts to incorporate energy efficiency and/or use of renewable energy, public entities such as school districts rely on F3’s experience to provide guidance. We have extensive experience with a wide variety of renewable energy transactions, such as negotiating solar power purchase agreements, purchasing and installing solar power systems, and negotiating buyouts of systems installed in decades past. Working closely with our clients, we seek to identify cost savings measures and additional benefits to on-site solar production systems that both produce clean, reliable energy for district operations and provide such resources at a fraction of the cost of more traditional energy sources.
Use of Facilities
Our real property specialists regularly draft and negotiate easements, restrictive covenants, joint use agreements, facility use agreements, leases, and subleases related to surplus school sites, athletic fields and other recreational facilities, as well as property access agreements associated with cell tower installations and Civic Center Act uses of public property. We also provide districts with necessary support and guidance regarding inverse condemnation and eminent domain matters.