Construction-PennDOT Prequalification

Attorney Chris Wilson When legal needs occur for a business, timely representation by effective, experienced counsel is essential…

If you have a construction or engineering firm, critical legal representation can make or break your business. Retaining inexperienced counsel can lead to unnecessary, high legal costs and potentially poor advice.

Similar to hiring a subcontractor on a job or a foreman or superintendent for your firm, you would not want to select a company or candidate lacking experience.

In this regard, Attorney Wilson offers something unique to construction/engineering firms and material suppliers. That is, Attorney Wilson worked for PennDOT’s legal office for a decade and can offer insight and experience that few other attorneys have. Attorney Wilson has also represented municipalities in construction disputes.

Attorney Wilson handles most assignments himself – so you are not paying multiple attorneys for a task that one experienced counsel can perform.

Services Attorney Wilson Provides Include:


In order to perform the vast majority of Pennsylvania public sector highway construction work (whether for a municipality, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, or with PennDOT), a company must be prequalified with PennDOT. Our firm has unique experience in this area. While serving as counsel for PennDOT, Attorney Wilson has helped significantly update and expand prequalification codes for contractors. He also handled most of the prequalification appeals between 2002 and 2011. Since returning to private practice, Attorney Wilson has provided counsel to multiple highway construction firms assisting them in becoming prequalified and in obtaining additional prequalification codes.

Suspension/Code Revocation/Debarment

Like prequalification, suspension, code revocation, and/or debarment can significantly impact a contractor or engineering firm. Even a short six-month suspension can put a once financially strong company out of business and can prevent a firm from obtaining payment and performance bonds for future work.

Our firm offers significant experience in this area as well. Avoiding debarment is critical. Taking the initiative early can help avoid a bad outcome. Legal representation at the early stage is critical and can make the difference in a firm’s survival. Attorney Wilson’s knowledge of past history and practices provides an advantage to his retained clients when a dispute develops.

Bid Protests

Submitting the lowest bid on a publicly bid construction project does not guarantee a contract with a public owner. Attorney Wilson has handled more than 100 bid protests. During that time, Attorney Wilson lost only one litigated bid protest. A critical aspect of a bid protest is that it must be timely – otherwise, even if it has merit, it cannot be considered. Having an experienced attorney involved as soon as possible avoids a late filing where the matter may have had merit but must be dismissed due to it not being timely.

Construction Claims

Like many public procurement matters, timeliness is critical. Also, an appropriate presentation and preservation of the issues at an early stage can avoid protracted litigation. With Commonwealth Agencies, filings at the Board of Claims take years to resolve. Thus, litigation can be important, but framing issues early on can often provide better results. Our firm provides that service so that a good result can occur in the near future (which can result in an additional payment via a work order or a time extension) rather than focusing on litigation which can take more than a decade (and can result in substantial legal fees without any guaranteed results).

Bureau of Equal Opportunity Issues

Pennsylvania and Federal construction contracts require record keeping and outreach to occur on projects. Furthermore, the failure of a prime contractor to reach a project goal can cause the loss of a contract. Any good faith efforts by a prime contractor must be properly recorded. Legal representation and advice is critical in these areas. Failing to follow through with these conditions can result not only in the loss of a project, but it can even lead to a suspension or debarment.

While counsel for PennDOT, Attorney Wilson updated multiple Bureau of Equal Opportunity (BEO) manuals and also helped gather the information necessary for the prosecution of the largest Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) fraud case in U.S. history.

DBE Certification

Attorney Wilson has assisted multiple DBE firms in obtaining DBE certification and with other legal issues related to performance on highway construction matters.

Legal Philosophy

Attorney Wilson understands that your business needs timely, efficient legal counsel. Spending money on legal issues means using money that otherwise could be spent on more productive areas. Attorney Wilson provides guidance designed for your business to expand and profit and avoid future disputes.