Stephen Wichern

Stephen supports contractors, subcontractors, and public and private owners in the drafting and negotiation of construction contracts for infrastructure and commercial projects of all natures and sizes. Stephen also provides guidance and assistance to project management teams on a variety of issues arising during the performance of construction projects, including pursuing relief for excusable events, addressing lien claims and discharging sub-tier liens, and finalizing completion certificates and project close-out. Stephen’s passion is to leverage his breadth of knowledge and experience to represent his clients’ needs in the construction process as effectively and efficiently as possible.

 

Before law, Stephen was a structural engineer in Colorado, designing various commercial and public structures and gaining his Professional Engineer license. While supporting transportation and land development projects, he designed bridges, retaining walls and culverts, and oversaw preparation of design plans and construction services. His work in the private sector focused on mid-size vertical commercial, where he designed foundations, retaining walls, floor systems and connections.

 

Stephen joined BBG Law after seven years as Senior In-House Counsel for an international renewable energy company specializing in the development and construction of utility-scale solar, wind, and battery storage projects. This followed his time as a business litigation associate in the construction practice group of a top-100 law firm.

 

Stephen enjoys biking, hiking, snowboarding and otherwise spending time in the Rocky Mountains with his wife and three children.

Stephen Wichern, P.E., Esq.

Partner

(303) 396-5932

stephen@bbglaw.com

Representative Experience

  • Draft and negotiate construction agreements using a variety of contract vehicles for commercial projects of all natures and sizes operating under nearly all forms of project delivery, including traditional design-bid-build, design-build, EPC, and CM at risk.
  • Represent development, commercial, and construction teams in negotiating a variety of contract documents, including EPC and BOP agreements, turbine and solar panel supply agreements, equipment supply agreements, subcontracts, purchase orders, master service agreements, operating and maintenance agreements, for renewable energy projects ranging in size from $5M – $500M.
  • Support Project Management teams on a broad range of issues arising on construction projects, including pursuing claims for relief for owner-caused delay, force majeure, and other excusable events; resolving change orders disputes with project participants; lien filing and discharging sub-tier liens; addressing safety incidents, assisting in emergency response, and responding to regulatory notices and investigations; and, responding to and resolving warranty claims.

Education and Licensing

  • Juris Doctorate, University of Denver, Order of the Coif
  • Bachelors of Applied Science (Civil Engineering), Queen’s University
  • Licensed Attorney, Colorado; Licensed Professional Engineer, Colorado

Recent Speaking and Writing

  • Who’s Responsible for Project Design? Owner and Contractor Expectations Under “Design Assist” Approach, Colorado Real Estate Journal, April 2020.
  • Contracting Best Practices – Liability for Design Documents, BBG 2020 In-House Roundtable & CLE Series, October 2020.
  • Issues in Renewable Energy Contracts, BBG CLE Seminar, December 2019.

In my “pre-law” life I was a structural engineer, with seven years of experience in the design and construction of vertical commercial buildings and transportation structures (with a focus on bridges). Construction law was a natural choice. I was excited by the prospect of developing a practice around my engineering experience, which would allow me to use my technical skills in combination with my legal training to represent industry members.

I’d recommend taking steps to learn and be comfortable with practical, technical aspects of the construction industry, whether in engineering, construction management, estimating, development, etc. This may include spending time on project sites in some capacity (whether assistant PM, project engineer, or other), or taking classes and participating in industry CLEs. A robust construction management program may be a good start. Having a basic background knowledge of the industry and familiarity with the nomenclature is important to quickly and efficiently understanding and addressing our clients’ legal needs.

Before law school, Buck and I worked at the same engineering consultant firm. Among other memorable experiences, we were included in the group that joined the design team for CDOT’s T-REX Project, a $1.2 billion multi-modal design-build expansion of the I-25 corridor. The Project was led by a joint venture between Kiewit and Parsons Brickenhoff. We worked in a separate building in the DTC (very close to our current office) with the other design firms and interacted with them on a daily basis, which was incredibly valuable. We also had regular interactions with Kiewit management, most notably in constructability reviews, which opened our eyes to the necessities of practical considerations in design. We also frequently met with RTD and CDOT leadership. For my part, I had primary design responsibility over 4 bridge structures on the Project (including the University Blvd. interchange) as well as other unique structural components. It was an amazing opportunity to observe and participate in the progress and (ultimately) successful completion of a significant Denver transportation project.

I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (which is about 4 hours NORTH of Fargo, ND) and attended “university” (as we Canadians call it) at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario (across the lake from Syracuse, NY). My wife Elizabeth is from northern Indiana, where we spend nearly every Fourth of July. We have three great kids, Anderson (16), Stephen (15), and Kate (14), who will all be attending Northfield High School this fall. As a family we enjoy all the Colorado things—hiking, snowboarding, mountain biking. I also spend time on the Crossfit and, when possible, golfing, which is a work in progress to say the least.