With stimulus money being funneled into public infrastructure projects, it helps to know the legal ramifications of such ventures. So noted construction attorney Ernest C. Brown, Esq., PE, has given his colleagues a how-to with the publishing of “California Infrastructure Projects: A Legal Handbook for Successful Contracting and Dispute Resolution.”

Contractors and engineers can get a lot out of this publication as well. Brown unites the worlds of law, project management and dispute resolution into a single volume that takes readers from project inception to completion. Topics addressed include Project Evaluation, Project Finance, Public-Private Partnerships, California Public Works Statutes, Insurance and Bonding, Contractor Licensing Law, Assessing Damages, Third-Party Claims and Construction Claims Analysis.

Brown is also an expert on Alternative Dispute Resolution, which his San Francisco firm, Ernest Brown & Co. has practiced for 20 years.
Overall, Brown has 30 years of project counsel experience for such works as the John Wayne Airport, the Honda Pond (Anaheim Ducks), the Sprinter Light Rail Project in San Diego, the Alfred Zampa Memorial (Carquinez) Bridge, and numerous other California super projects. He has served as a mediator, arbitrator and special master.

Brown earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1975). He continued his education with a Master of Science degree in Construction Management (M.S.C.E.) and Law Degree (J.D.) from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley (1978). He also did graduate work at Harvard Law School. Brown also is a licensed civil engineer.

Having been sent some advance copies of “California Infrastructure Projects” as a post-Christmas surprise, I did a quick review and liked his assessment of California’s current state of affairs. Though our state spends billions of dollars on infrastructure projects, some mighty big and some very small, it’s not always easy to get the ball rolling, so to speak.

He says, “Then there is the balkanization problem: There are more than 7,000 separate local public entities in California. The vast majority of these entities participate in many aspects of public infrastructure…. Unfortunately, every public works entity in California ‘marches to its own drum’ on specifics of their contracts, bidding and project administration. This presents the design and contracting community with a ‘Tower of Babel’ of conflicting and confusing public works programs.”

The book, published by Recorder Books, is listed at $149.95; check here for more details.

(I’ve got a few extra copies that I can mail out to readers, first-come. E-mail me separately at robert_carlsen@mcgraw-hill.com.)