What Are Legal Issues in Construction & How having a lawyer on Retainer can Help
Construction is a complex industry with many moving parts. When something goes wrong, it can often lead to legal action. As a construction manager, it's important to be aware of the most common legal issues that can arise during a project and how having a lawyer on retainer can help you avoid or resolve them.
Common Legal Issues in Construction
There are many potential legal issues that can arise during a construction project. Some of the most common include:
Construction defects: Construction defects are one of the most common legal issues in the construction industry. A construction defect is any deficiency in the design or construction of a building that causes it to be structurally unsound or otherwise unfit for habitation. Common construction defects include faulty foundations, collapsed walls, leaks, and electrical fires.
Construction defects can often be attributed to errors made by the contractor, architect, or engineer responsible for designing and building the structure. In some cases, construction defects may also result from defective materials or workmanship.
If a property owner believes that there are defects in the workmanship of the construction, they may sue the contractor for damages.
Breach of contract: If either the contractor or property owner breaches the terms of their agreement, it could result in legal action.
Delays: Disputes over timelines are not uncommon in the construction industry. When one party feels that the other has not adhered to the agreed-upon timeline, it can be tempting to take matters into their own hands. If they are not handled correctly, they can lead to claims of breach of contract.
Liens: Liens may be placed on a property if the contractor is not paid for their work. This can happen if the property owner files for bankruptcy or does not have the funds to pay for the work.
Insurance Claim Disputes: When you purchase insurance, you expect it will cover you in the event of an accident or disaster. However, sometimes insurance companies are slow to pay out on claims, or they may deny your claim altogether. If you find yourself in a dispute with your insurance company, you may need to have a lawyer on retainer to help you resolve the issue.
How a retained lawyer can help
While legal issues in construction are common, they don't have to be a death sentence for your project. Having a lawyer on retainer can help you avoid or resolve many common legal issues. Here's how:
A retained lawyer will be familiar with your project and will be able to anticipate potential problems before they arise. This allows you to take proactive steps to avoid legal action.
It Saves Time & Money
The first benefit of having a lawyer on retainer is that it saves time and money. When you have a lawyer on staff, you don't have to waste time looking for one every time you have a legal issue. This can be a huge time-saver, especially when time is tight and you're dealing with numerous other pressing issues. If a problem does arise, your lawyer will already be familiar with your case and will be able to quickly resolve the issue without having to waste time getting up to speed. In addition, many lawyers offer their retainer clients discounts on hourly rates and other services. This can save your business significant amounts of money in the long run.
Peace of Mind
Another big benefit of having a lawyer on retainer is peace of mind. Construction managers have enough to worry about without also having to worry about legal issues. Your lawyer can help you draft contracts that protect you and the property owner from potential legal action.
Your lawyer can provide guidance on how to handle delays, change orders, and other disruptions that are common in construction projects. This can take a huge load off your shoulders and help you focus on more important things - like running your business! When you have a lawyer on staff, you can rest assured knowing that someone has your back and is there to help you resolve any legal issues that may arise.
Finally, having a lawyer on retainer means that you'll always be able to get the legal help you need - fast. When issues arise, you won't have to wait days or weeks for someone to get back to you. Instead, you can pick up the phone and get the answers and guidance you need immediately. This is extremely valuable when time is of the essence and every minute counts.
Construction projects come with unique risks, many of which can lead to costly legal action. As a construction manager, it's important to be aware of the most common legal issues and how having a lawyer on retainer can help you avoid or resolve them. By being proactive and working with a retained lawyer, you can decrease the chances of facing expensive litigation down the road.
Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only. The provision of this material does not create an attorney-client relationship between the firm and the reader and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this newsletter are not a substitute for legal counsel. Do not take action in reliance on the contents of this material without seeking the advice of counsel.
The information contained in this blog may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. Accordingly, information in this blog is not promised or guaranteed to be correct or complete, and should not be relied upon as such. Readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research.
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