Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How To Fix America's Trillion Dollar Construction Industry

Barry B. LePatner (University Press of Chicago Press, 2007)
Across the nation, construction projects large and small—from hospitals to schools to simple home improvements—are spiraling out of control. Delays and cost overruns have come to seem “normal,” even as they drain our wallets and send our blood pressure skyrocketing. InBroken Buildings, Busted Budgets, prominent construction attorney Barry B. LePatner builds a powerful case for change in America’s sole remaining “mom and pop” industry—an industry that consumes $1.23 trillion and wastes at least $120 billion each year.

With three decades of experience representing clients that include eminent architects and engineers, as well as corporations, institutions, and developers, LePatner has firsthand knowledge of the bad management, ineffective supervision, and insufficient investment in technology that plagues the risk-averse construction industry. In an engaging and direct style, he here pinpoints the issues that underlie the industry’s woes while providing practical tips for anyone in the business of building, including advice on the precise language owners should use during contract negotiations.

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Too Big To Fall: America's Failing Infrastructure and the Way Forward

Barry B. LePatner (Foster Publishing in association with University Press of New England, 2010)
In August 2007, the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring 145 others. Investigations following the tragedy revealed that it was not an unavoidable accident, but one that could have been prevented—and one that threatens to be repeated at many thousands of bridges located across the nation. Already, more than 50 percent of our bridges are past their intended lifespan. Using the I-35W Bridge as a starting point, LePatner chronicles the problems that led to that catastrophe—poor bridge design, shoddy maintenance, ignored expert recommendations for repair, and misallocated funding—and then explores the responses to the tragedy, including the NTSB document which failed to report the full story to our nation.

From here LePatner evaluates what the I-35W Bridge collapse means for the country as a whole—outlining the possibility of a nationwide infrastructure breakdown. He exposes government failure on a national as well as state level, uncovering how our nation’s transportation system prioritizes funding for new projects over maintenance funding for aging infrastructure. He explains the imperatives for why we must maintain an effective infrastructure system, and how it plays a central role in supporting both our nation’s economic strength and our national security.

Written both for those who can effect change and for those who must demand it, Too Big to Fall presents an eye-opening critique of a bureaucratic system that has allowed political best interests to trump those of the American people.

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The LePatner Report aRCHIVES