Fifth Annual WSBA Construction Law Section Dinner Meeting – Another Success

March 15, 2018 • Robert L. Olson

The Construction Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association, under the guidance of SFS senior attorney Robert Olson and legal assistant Laurel Barton, held its fifth annual dinner meeting/mini CLE at Cutter’s Crabhouse in the Pike Place Market on Thursday evening, March 1, 2018.  This is the fifth consecutive year that Mr. Olson and Ms. Barton have teamed up to lead this event.  Mr. Olson is a past chair and a long-time member of the Section.  Both Mr. Olson and Ms. Barton have been with SFS and its predecessor firm for over 20 years.

     A lively crowd of 36 construction lawyers socialized over drinks before dinner with a bar generously hosted by NAEGELI Deposition and Trial. The CLE portion of the event was entitled – What is BIM and why should construction lawyers care about it? The short answer to that intriguing question is that BIM stands for Building Information Modeling, defined as digital technology that establishes a computable a way of representing all the physical and functional characteristics of a facility and its related project/life-cycle information. BIM is now widely used by members of the design team on large complex commercial construction projects.    

     Making this subject understandable was Dr. Carrie Sturts Dossick, a professor of Construction Management at the University of Washington, College of Built Environment, and Executive Director of the Center for Education and Research in Construction (CERC).  She has a PhD in civil engineering from Columbia University and is also a professional engineer who spent four years as a consulting engineer before joining the UW faculty in 2005. She has focused her career on researching, authoring and lecturing on BIM and related topics.  Dr. Dossick was joined by one of her PhD students, Bita Astanah Asl, who has first-hand knowledge and experience with using BIM.

     Together, they presented an informative hour-long slide show that covered a short history of BIM, its various uses and challenges, and a demonstration on how it is prepared.  They were joined at the end by construction attorney Robert Olson who explained how the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has structured its new contract forms to handle the legal issues and risks of using BIM and digital documents.  The presentation slides can be accessed at:

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Robert L. Olson

Meet Robert

Mr. Olson is experienced in all phases of business and construction disputes including: planning and advising on how best to avoid those disputes; drafting contracts with solid dispute resolution and other substantive/procedural clauses; analyzing contracts for ways to prosecute, defend, or resolve disputes;  preparing, presenting and defending claims; devising creative extra-contractual ways to resolve disputes; negotiating and mediating di...