Construction disputes are a common phenomenon in the United States and are one of the main challenges to successful construction projects.
Construction law deals with various legal matters in the construction industry. Different laws at the local, state, and federal levels govern different aspects of construction, making it a complicated field.
Construction lawyers are experts in this area as they specialize in specific legal issues or types of clients. For example, some help property owners in lawsuits, while others work for insurance companies, contractors, or design professionals.
Key construction law issues include project bidding, contract negotiations, construction defects, building codes, environmental regulations, workplace injuries, and insurance. This article explains the diverse roles and responsibilities of construction lawyers.
What Does a Construction Lawyer Do?
A construction lawyer can specialize in various areas of construction law.
Drafting and Negotiating Contracts
When a business owner hires contractors, they sign a binding contract. A construction lawyer makes sure the contract is legal, follows the right rules, sets fair expectations, considers the conditions of the work site, talks about insurance needs, and prepares for possible delays and unexpected problems. They can also make changes to existing agreements if needed.
Payment problems often happen in construction. A construction lawyer ensures the contractor gets all the money they were promised and that the contract covers everything like labor and materials.
If someone doesn’t pay, the lawyer can take legal action. They might use liens and payment bonds for different types of projects. They can also help people who are being asked to pay.
A construction lawyer who knows about money in construction can help with loans and agreements for lenders, borrowers, contractors, and property owners.
Dealing With Liens
Imagine a lien as a security tag on the property, often used to resolve debts, particularly in construction.
In the realm of construction, a construction lawyer acts as the expert guide for contractors, subcontractors, and property owners dealing with liens. They navigate the complexities of filing, addressing, or releasing liens.
These legal professionals steer you through the process, ensuring the right paperwork is in place and even stepping in to resolve disputes when necessary. When parties can’t see eye to eye, they also take on the task of recovering owed money.
Assisting With Proposals
A construction lawyer lends a hand with construction proposals in various ways:
- They help with bidding on proposals.
- They offer insights into understanding and interpreting contracts.
- They guide IFB (invitation for bid) matters.
Moreover, when a proposal doesn’t get the green light, these legal experts step in to assist in challenging or protesting the decision.
A construction lawyer has the power to seek extra payment or time extensions. They do this when unexpected issues pop up, such as design flaws, delays, disruptions, surprise site conditions, or other work disturbances. These legal experts make sure that these requests meet all the legal and contract criteria.
A construction lawyer acts as a shield against unjust firings and can prevent them from happening in the first place. When it’s time to end a contract, they ensure it’s done fairly and by the book. If legal conflicts arise later, they step in to represent the parties involved.
Some construction lawyers go the extra mile by providing on-site training to assist contractors and businesses in avoiding legal headaches. Companies often turn to construction lawyers for guidance before making choices that could have legal repercussions. If challenges arise during a project, a construction lawyer can swiftly intervene to resolve them before they escalate into a full-blown legal battle.
Representing Design-Build Participants
More and more project owners like design-build projects and a construction lawyer can support people involved in various projects like these. They don’t just create contracts; they also settle conflicts and handle issues as the project goes along.
Assisting With Public and Government Contracting
A construction lawyer plays a vital role in public and government projects by:
- Championing supply contracts.
- Facilitating negotiations in contracts.
- Ensuring strict compliance with regulations.
- Providing support in legal conflicts.
- Offering expert guidance on concerns like flaws, delays, or modifications in construction agreements.
Licensing rules can change, and a construction lawyer can help you figure out the right way to get a license. They assist in meeting the application rules and can speak for you in front of the licensing board. If issues come up, they can also deal with complaints.
Closing Out Projects
As projects near completion, developers often require support to tie up loose ends. This includes:
- Concluding arrangements with property owners.
- Finalizing agreements with subcontractors.
- Securing the remaining payments.
To ensure a successful project closure, a construction lawyer collaborates with a range of key participants, including:
Construction lawyer’s roles encompass drafting and negotiating contracts, safeguarding payment rights, addressing liens, assisting with proposals, submitting claims for compensation or time extensions, ensuring justifiable contract terminations, and offering support in administrative tasks.
These legal professionals are vital in public and government projects, licensing matters, and project closeout procedures.
Ultimately, construction lawyers act as essential guides and problem solvers, ensuring that construction projects adhere to legal standards and successfully navigate the complex terrain of construction law.
Their expertise is indispensable from project inception to closure, contributing to the overall success of the construction industry.