Bruce Merwin Quoted in Texas Lawyer on Trinity Forest Golf Course

“Lawyers Help Turn Dallas Golf Course Built on Old Landfill Into Reality”

What once was an abandoned landfill located south of downtown Dallas has become a links-style golf course that, beginning May 14, will host the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament for its 50th anniversary run. “In the range of 20 lawyers” worked to turn what at first may have seemed like a long-odds proposition of building a course to attract PGA tournaments into reality, said Haynes and Boone Dallas tax partner Jeff Dorrill, lead attorney for the project.

…Bruce Merwin, a former Haynes and Boone attorney now a Houston partner at Thompson & Knight in Houston, did much of the lawyering required for construction of the golf course, including working with the owner’s construction manager. As Merwin pointed out, preparing and negotiating a golf course construction project is different than for a commercial building like a hotel because a golf course is more like a civil engineering project.

“Every hole is different,” he said.

Trinity Forest Golf Course is even more unique because it’s built on a landfill, and physical characteristics of the site resulted in challenges that had to be addressed in the contract documents, Merwin said. He had to make sure the architects and contractor were aware of the issues, which entailed, in part, his review of all the specifications written by the architect and revision of some of the specifications.

“I wanted a contract that was clear and unambiguous as to the responsibilities of the contractor to perform the work pursuant to the drawings and specifications,” he said.

Following the contractor’s review of the drawings and specifications, the contractor provides the owner with qualifications, clarifications and exclusions modifying or limiting the contractor’s obligations to perform various aspects of the work, Merwin explained.

“One of my key jobs was to discuss the effect of such qualifications, clarifications and exclusions on the cost and timing of the project with the owner, the architect and the owner’s construction manager and help resolve any open issues with respect to such items,” he noted.

It was also important to coordinate the roles of the owner, contractor, architect and construction manager, according to Merwin.

Merwin also had to make sure the contract included insurance requirements, the contractor’s indemnification of the owner and warranty, as well as procedures for change orders.