How Construction Law Works, and Why You Need an Attorney

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You’ve got a construction company going. Everything is great. You have a steady amount of projects pouring in from business owners and residents in your area.

That’s when one of your workers gets hurt on the job. Now you find yourself caught up in a lawsuit. During this time, it would be beneficial for you to get into contact with an attorney.

They know the ins and outs of construction law. It will also help to do some research on the rules in your state on your own. We can help you out with that.

Check out this guide to learn all you need to know.

A Break Down on Construction Law

Construction law is everything concerning the rules and regulations of planning and designing a building project. This includes the hiring and payment of contractors.

Building codes and safety will also fall under this complex set of rules as well as mediation, bid protests, termination, contract negotiations, licensing, project administration, and anything involving the closing of an assignment.

Bid Protests

Most large construction projects are handed down to contractors via a process known as competitive bidding. Essentially, a bunch of contractors submits a proposal to a company, and the best option will win out.

A construction law attorney can help the companies look over all the proposals. They’ll be on the lookout for any errors in the contractor’s designs that could get the company in trouble.

Arbitration or Mediation

Let’s say that you have a disagreement with a client. It’s a nasty falling out, but that doesn’t mean you want it to go to court. We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to.

You can opt for arbitration or mediation. Arbitrators are lawyers or attorneys. You’ll sit down with them and the disgruntled party to reach a compromise.

The arbitrators will be the ones to reach a decision on who’s guilty of what and what that means for your construction business. It’s possible for these disagreements to go to court, but most of the time, they remain out of the public eye.

Mediation works sort of the same way. The difference is that the mediator just helps facilitate a compromise between the two parties. They won’t be the one who makes the final decision.

Project Administration

From the start of the construction project to the end, you want to make sure that nothing goes wrong. That’s why administration is so crucial.

You’ll hire a lawyer to walk through the job site to look for any potential safety hazards. Having someone check things over doesn’t ensure that nothing bad will happen, but it will cut down on your risk.

Termination

Your client agreed to pay your company a certain amount of money for your work on their building. After a few weeks, you don’t get the amount that was promised.

Your client is in default. You can go to a lawyer and see about terminating your contract with them unless they pay you for the work.

Contract Negotiations

When you start a new project, it will open up a long line of contracts. You’ll negotiate with vendors, write up statements of work, and talk to subcontractors.

As you can imagine, it involves a lot of red tape and paperwork. If you want, you’re entitled to bring in a lawyer to oversee all the contracts.

Licensing

Before your construction company can tackle a job, the structure design has to be approved by a licensing review board. There are a lot of requirements that a building design will have to meet in order to pass.

Many people will reach out to a construction law attorney to make sure that their design is within the correct regulations. The right lawyer can also plead someone’s case with the board.

Building Codes

Building codes are a huge part of construction law. They’re there for a reason. Having them in place will help protect the structure of the building and everyone inside it.

A building that’s up to code will have an answer to fires and natural disasters. You’ll need to make sure that your company is up to date with all the latest technology in terms of plumbing, electricity, and more.

Closing Out a Project

The last part of construction law is project closure. The process is almost as complicated as starting up a project in the first place. You’ll need to end things with your subcontractors if you have them.

You’ll have to send out invoices to your client and close things out with your suppliers.

Why Hire a Construction Lawyer?

A construction law attorney can help you out in all the areas we spoke about above, but you might be able to get away with not getting them involved.

There are some situations where you will need to hire one, however. If you’re planning to sue someone or someone is suing you, there’s no way around it.

Someone Is Suing Your Company

Something went wrong with a construction project and now someone is trying to sue your company. Going to court without hiring a construction accident law firm isn’t the smartest move.

You best believe the other party will get their best attorney involved with the case. If you don’t meet their challenge with a lawyer of your own, it will be hard for you to plead your case.

We won’t lie, hiring an attorney can be expensive. Losing a court case and ruining your reputation along the way will cost you even more, though.

You Plan to Sue Someone

Vice versa to our point above, you’ll want to hire a lawyer before you sue a client. Again, it’s likely that they’ll have an attorney by their side.

It will be hard for you to win unless you also have a lawyer pleading your case. It can be difficult for you to represent yourself, and it doesn’t exactly make you look like a professional.

You Don’t Know How to Proceed

You’ve been waiting for months for your client to pay you after the completion of a project. It’s been difficult for you to get in touch with the customer and they aren’t responding to your invoices.

You know you need to get paid, but you’re not sure how to proceed. That’s reason enough to talk to a lawyer. They’ll help you chase down that client and get the money you deserve for your work.

Injury on the Job Site

Injuries on the job site can get pretty nasty. You’ll have to deal with worker’s comp claims and injury disputes. A lawyer can help keep things civil between both parties.

If you hire the right attorney for the job, they might even be able to keep the entire situation out of the courtroom. The more peaceful, the better.

Choosing the Right Attorney

Now that you know why you need an attorney, it’s time to talk about how you can find the right one. There are quite a few features that you need to be on the lookout for.

It’s important to hire someone that has the experience necessary to tackle the job you have for them. It’s not a bad idea to look at online reviews, and it’s almost always best to go with a local law firm focus.

Go With a Local Firm

When you’re hunting around for an attorney, it’s crucial to look for a local firm. You might be able to find a good one out of state, but there’s a problem with using them.

For one, construction laws vary from place to place. If you go with a firm that’s two states away, they might not be familiar enough with the local rules to help you.

For two, they won’t know much about the courts and judges that are near you. That means that it might be a bit harder for them to represent you.

Pick Someone Board Certified

It’s not enough to choose someone that’s local. You also need to make sure that they’re board certified. If they are, that means they’ve completed 5 years of training.

Furthermore, find a firm that’s recognized by an organization such as the Associated Builders & Contractors. That’s not a requirement, but it will ensure the lawyer is familiar with your field.

Experience With Construction

You might be able to get great service from a newer law company. With how complicated the world of construction is, it’s not something that you should gamble on, though. Look for a firm that’s been in service for at least 5 years.

They’ve been around so long that must be doing something right. Besides, the longer a firm has been established, the more likely it is that they’ve seen a situation like yours before and know what to do.

Look At Online Reviews

Of course, you shouldn’t trust a company because they say that they have the experience you’re looking for. It’s recommended to always look at online reviews before moving forward.

When you find a firm that you’re interested in, type their name into Google. It should pull up a list of reviews that you can read. If a company doesn’t have a single star or comment, that should raise a few red flags in your head.

Good Standing With the State Bar

As part of your research on a firm, you should check its status with the state bar. You don’t want to hire someone that has the habit of acting out.

Having a company with disciplinary marks against them on your side isn’t a good look. Search for a firm that has a history of playing by the rules.

Know Their Rates

As you can imagine, it’s crucial to find a company that you can afford. To this end, always ask a lawyer about their rates during the consultation process.

All firms are different. Some of them work on a flat fee basis. Other companies offer a contingency plan. What contingency means is that you won’t owe the firm a penny unless they win your case.

Bankruptcy

If construction law seems complicated so far, you’ll tear your hair out when you see bankruptcy regulations. While a construction attorney can walk you through some bankruptcy steps, hiring a separate lawyer to help you out with it might be the better call.

This is especially true if you plan to file for bankruptcy protection. You’ll need a lawyer that can help you shield all your assets and find a solution for your money troubles.

Specialization

General law firms aren’t a bad thing. From construction to personal injury, they dabble in many different types of cases. The problem is that they don’t have a focus on construction.

They might not be able to help you quite as much as a firm that specializes in your field. They just don’t have the necessary experience under their belt.

Problem-Solving Skills

During your consultation, you’ll explain your unique situation to the attorney. They’ll take in everything you say and help you come up with a solution to your issue.

It’s safe to say that they’ll need to have some problem-solving skills to assist you.

Navigating Your Way Around the World of Construction Law

As you can see, construction law is a complicated field. You’ll need to be somewhat familiar with it if you want your company to stay out of trouble and flourish.

There may come a time when you need to hire an experienced attorney to help you with general paperwork and other issues. When that time comes, you’ll need to do some searching to find the right firm for the job.

If you’re looking for more tips that will help you navigate your way around a courtroom, visit the Law section of our blog.

How Construction Law Works, and Why You Need an Attorney
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