Construction Contracts, Tariffs and Rising Material Costs: Strategies for Risk Allocation

Practical Guidance for Counsel to Owners, Contractors, Subcontractors and Suppliers

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, April 19, 2019

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will discuss the ongoing escalation of material prices in the construction industry and provide practical insights for counsel to owners, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers in mitigating such risks.


The recent escalation of material prices in the construction industry--due to tariffs, trade policies and rapidly-evolving economic conditions--have presented significant challenges for unprepared suppliers, subcontractors, contractors and owners. According to one recent analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America, the cost of many products used in construction climbed 7.4% last year because of double-digit increases in commonly used construction materials.

These economic realities have caused lost profits, damaged commercial relationships, and stalled or made for unprofitable projects.

From traditional legal mechanisms and rules of law to more innovative tools--including material price escalation clauses--multiple creative strategies exist for informed construction lawyers to soften and shift the impact of material escalation on their construction clients.

Listen as our panel of experienced construction attorneys reviews the traditional legal mechanisms and rules of law impacting the allocation of material price escalation risks. Additionally, our panel will share insights on what is being done in the public and private sectors, highlight the innovative tools being utilized in the industry, and explain the differences in escalation clause structures. Finally, they will provide practical suggestions for how counsel to owners, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers should best approach escalation clauses to protect their clients' interests.



  1. Overview of rampant material price spikes
    1. Primary causes of recent material escalation
  2. The impact of price escalation
  3. Historical allocation of escalation risks
  4. Tools for mitigating and sharing escalation risks
  5. Material escalation clauses
  6. Practice pointers and practical tips
    1. Owner's perspective
    2. General contractor or construction manager's perspective
    3. Subcontractor's and supplier's perspective


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What domestic and international market forces are causing the recent material price spiking in the construction industry?
  • What is the historical allocation of escalation risks?
  • How has the concept of commercial impracticability evolved?
  • What are the tools for mitigating and sharing escalation risks?
  • What role do material escalation clauses play?
  • How do index-based escalation clauses and cost-based escalation provisions function?


Hester, Mason
Mason P. Hester

Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr

Mr. Hester’s practice focuses on construction-related legal matters such as construction litigation, arbitration...  |  Read More

Walsh, Tim
Tim Walsh

Norton Rose Fulbright US

Mr. Walsh specializes in front end construction, project development and dispute resolution. He represents owners,...  |  Read More

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