Obermayer/CIRAS Fundamentals of Federal Construction Webinar Series

March 02, 2021

Obermayer government contracting attorney Maria Panichelli teams up with their friends at Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) for the webinar series, titled “Fundamentals of Federal Construction.”

Please register for each panel that you are interested in attending.

  • March 2, 2021 – CHANGES: The Most Important Clause in Federal Construction Contracts – register here

If you do business with the federal government, the Changes clause just may be the most important clause in your contract. From variations in quantities to design revisions, delays, defective specifications, or breaches of warranty, many if not most of the issues that arise during performance of a government contract are within the scope of the Changes clause. How do you make sure it protects you when it needs to?

This 90-minute webinar will feature Maria Panichelli, an experienced government contracting attorney from the Pennsylvania-based Obermayer law firm, discussing the multitude of circumstances that implicate the FAR’s Changes clause. We will walk you through the steps to address changes on government contracts including notice, REA submission, claim submission, negotiations, and the proper execution of modifications. She will discuss various forms of the Changes clause, as well as the agency supplements that can affect its application.

Contractors will learn how a lack of communication and misconceptions about the authority of government personnel can cause conflicts and create mistakes on both sides of the contract. (We’ll show you specific examples.) Special attention will be given to communication, professionalism, and the proper role of performance reviews in the negotiation process. We will provide real-world examples throughout the presentation, with a focus on how contractors can get paid for changes as they arise, while also preserving their relationships with government personnel and agencies. Finally, we will discuss the reasons government agencies resist paying for changes and how contractors can protect themselves against some of the most common defenses the government raises against claims for changes.

  • March 16, 2021 – Dealing with Differing Site Conditions on Federal Projects – register here

Your company has received a contract for construction or infrastructure work but, before or during performance, you identify material differences or unusual conditions between what’s described in your contract compared to what you observe onsite. What should you do?​ Differing site conditions can be a confusing issue for government contractors to deal with, and it’s important for contractors to know what’s required.

This 90-minute webinar features Maria Panichelli, an experienced government contracting attorney from the Pennsylvania-based Obermayer law firm, discussing the function and purpose of differing site condition clauses in government contracts. Maria will explain how to protect your claim rights and get paid for the costs incurred. Attendees will learn how to keep a project moving forward in the face of a differing site condition, especially when the government attempts to deny its existence, and how to distinguish a differing site condition from a change or a defect in specifications.

Contractors providing construction services, IT infrastructure, cybersecurity, or any location-based services can all benefit from attending this presentation about two of the most common, but frequently difficult to prove, claims against the government.

  • April 6, 2021 – Scheduling Issues on Federal Construction Contracts – register here

Very few federal contracts are completed without some sort of delay occurring, but who is responsible for the resulting costs? Before you can determine liability for project delays, you have to understand the framework that federal courts use to analyze delays on government contracts.

This 90-minute webinar will feature experienced government contracting attorney Maria Panichelli explaining how to distinguish delays and suspensions from disruption. She’ll explain the different types of delay (compensable, excusable, and concurrent), and walk you through the process of establishing government liability for the delay.

Webinar attendees will learn about the common pitfalls contractors run into in pursuing a delay claim, including the effect of releases and waivers in contract modifications and pacing issues. We’ll also discuss the various types of damages that may be recoverable as a result of government-caused suspensions and delays, including general conditions and unabsorbed home office overhead.

Come learn how these requirements really work and how to avoid common pitfalls that many government contractors encounter in attempting to maintain compliance with these laws.


Maria is a partner and the Chair of the Government Contracting department. She focuses her practice exclusively on federal government contracting and procurement, guiding her clients throughout the entire lifecycle of their federal contracts. She provides comprehensive legal counseling that allows her clients to successfully navigate the complicated legal requirements related to federal contracting while fulfilling their own business goals.

Maria’s prior legal experience in corporate litigation and risk management counseling has given Maria a unique perspective. Recognizing that a client must focus on what is best for business, her goal is to never unilaterally dictate strategy. She seeks to provide clients with the legal advice they need to make the right business decision. To that end, she works with her clients, providing counseling on the law while simultaneously being counseled by the client about their particular business needs. Maria works to find a solution that not only solves a client’s legal issues, but advances that client’s business plan and is consistent with that client’s mission.