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Kelly Donaldson has practiced construction law in Texas since 1986. Prior to 1986 Mr. Donaldson worked in the foundation drilling industry. Today, he represents clients involved in project development, design, engineering, procurement and construction.

Successful projects require thorough planning, proper risk allocation, comprehensive contract documents and efficient resolution of disputes. Construction is complex and experience counts. Mr. Donaldson has experience in both construction and construction law.

Mr. Donaldson represents owners (private and public), engineers, EPC contractors, general contractors, sureties, lenders, subcontractors, suppliers, manufacturers & fabricators. He has experience with projects related to energy (upstream, midstream & downstream); maritime design & construction; power generation; public works & infrastructure; schools & higher education; industrial; manufacturing; commercial; healthcare; church & religious organizations; multi-family and residential construction.

He has tried to verdict construction cases in both state and federal court, as well as arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association.

Professional Information

Mr. Donaldson is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and is listed in Best Lawyers in America for construction and surety law. He has also been named a Superlawyer in construction and surety law. Mr. Donaldson has been a member of the Construction Law Sections of the State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association since these sections were founded in 1987.

Representative Work

Project Development, Engineering & Procurement

  • Detailed Engineering and Design Contracts, including a $2.2 billion offshore platform and related structures in St Johns,
  • Master Services Agreements for many energy-related and industrial projects, including nuclear power plants, oil distribution terminals, refineries and chemical plants.
  • Engineering, Procurement and Construction Agreements for industrial and energy- related
  • Design-Build Agreements for commercial and industrial
  • Construction Manager at Risk Agreements for industrial projects, office buildings and schools.
  • Owner-Contractor Agreements (Stipulated Sum) and General Conditions for the Contract of Construction for office buildings, schools and
  • Owner-Contractor Agreements (Cost of the Work Plus A Fee With A Guaranteed Maximum) for construction of many office buildings, schools and churches around Texas.
  • Owner-Contractor Agreements (Stipulated Sum and Cost of the Work Plus a Fee) for custom.

Dispute Resolution Without Litigation

  • Represented a major chemical company faced with a default of the general contractor, and work out with multiple unpaid subcontractors.
  • Represented a large school district in Harris County, Texas in extra-work/change order dispute exceeding $800,000.00.
  • Represented surety after general contractor/principle defaulted on the construction of a new airport Issues included method of completion of the project, defective work, and unpaid subcontractors and suppliers.
  • Represented contractor found in default on the construction of a U.S. Coast Guard facility. Issues included non-compliant HVAC system, questionable start-up and testing procedures and certified payroll
  • Represented owner after contractor defaulted on multiple church projects in Harris County and Galveston County, Issues to resolve included completion of work, unpaid subcontractors and suppliers, mechanics and materialmen’s liens, and defective work.
  • Represented construction lender after owner’s design-build contractor defaulted on a church project in Houston, Texas. Problems included unpaid subcontractors and suppliers, questionable design, mechanics and materialmen’s liens, and defective work.
  • Represented industrial contractor after subcontractor default on refinery project in Pt. Arthur, issues included defective work of defaulting subcontractor, unpaid suppliers and engagement of completion subcontractor.
  • Represented county in east Texas in the restoration of a historical Issues included non-responsive architect, defective design, failure of contractor to maintain project schedule, and defective work.

Jury Trials

  • Represented contractor on industrial project in claim against engineer for delay, disruption, interference, additional and extra work. District Court, Jefferson County,
  • Represented industrial sandblasting and coating contractor in claim against coating manufacturer for delay damages and extra work due to defective
  • Represented owner of custom home in defective work claim against District Court, Hardin County, Texas.
  • Represented industrial contractor who was accused of violating the Americans With Disabilities Federal Court, Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.


  • Represented steel erection contractor against the general contractor on 13 building prison project in Harris County, Texas. Claims included delay & disruption, extra work and additional
  • Represented owner in defective design claims against the architect on the design and construction of a new medical
  • Represented owner of custom home against homebuilder in claims of defective work, including moisture intrusion, improper site work, defective placement of concrete and numerous other defects.


  • Anthony of Padua Catholic Church
  • Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston


  • Married since 1981
  • 2 sons and 3 grandsons
  • Enjoying motocross since 1969
Admission Details
  • Admitted in 1986, Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
Law School Attended
  • Southern Methodist University, Juris Doctor
University Attended
  • Southern Methodist University, Class of 1979, B.A.
Associations & Memberships
  • Member State Bar of Texas (Construction and Litigation Sections)
  • Houston Bar Association (Construction Section)
  • Spanish