What Does a Construction Lawyer Do?
Construction lawyers specialize in providing legal assistance and advice related to construction and building projects. The lawyers advise different people across all the levels of the construction chain. These include principles—developers, occupiers, and property owners, head construction managers and contractors, trade contractors and subcontractors, project managers, suppliers, and consultants.
Since construction attorneys are specialists in construction contracts, they normally provide legal advice related to legal tussles that arise from construction contracts. For instance, they can assist in case of delays, defects, payment issues, and variations.
Basically, a construction attorney will assist you in handling any legal problem during a construction process.
What Do Construction Lawyers Specialize In?
In the area of construction attorneys, you’ll realize that some attorneys are specialized than others. For instance, you will some individual attorney provide legal advice on areas such as:
- Certain construction projects, like public and private partnerships, infrastructure projects, residential projects, commercial projects, and strata projects, among others.
- Contract formation—typically, these attorneys are called front-end construction lawyers
- Disputes – these attorneys are called back-end construction lawyers.
Also, you will find construction lawyers with specialist knowledge across a wider area, and provide legal advice to different organizations. However, these attorneys might not have the same level of knowledge in particular areas as specialist construction attorneys. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you understand the knowledge that you need as this assists you in finding the right construction attorney.
Typically, most construction attorneys have working experience in other areas outside construction, although they won’t be experts in these fields. Some of these areas include:
- Property transactions, like selling, buying, leasing or subdividing real estate
- Work safety and health—this includes handling safety breaches and safety accidents.
- Legal issues related to industrial relations, like negotiating enterprise agreements,and handling industrial relations legal disputes
- Handling insurance claims and disputes
How Do Contractors Benefit From Construction Lawyers?
Creating and negotiating construction contracts
Experts at Grzymala Law Offices,P.C share that when you retain a contracting service, you are basically getting into a binding agreement with your contractor. This is where construction lawyers come in. They make sure that the contracts meet the necessary legal requirements, have reasonable expectations, have the necessary job site conditions, as well as notice requirements.
The contract must include things like job site conditions, insurance, project delays, as well as unforeseen circumstances. Moreover, a construction lawyer can give the necessary revision to pre-existing contracts.
A construction attorney ensures that the contractor gets the full payment as agreed. These payments should cover several costs like materials, equipment, and labor. The attorney will make sure that the contract covers all the costs incurred during the entire project.
Furthermore, a construction attorney can take civil action to acquire unpaid debts. Also, they can file mechanics liens claims against any payment bond, which covers both public and private construction projects. Lastly, a construction attorney can provide legal defense to clients who have had a payment claim made against.
Submitting construction claims
Construction attorneys do submit a claim for extra compensation and added time, and then represent the plaintiff during any negotiations or dispute resolution processes. Moreover, they can submit claims for unexpected circumstances, like unforeseen job site conditions, delays, disruptions, or interferences with the project, as well as defects in designs. The attorney, however, must ensure that the claims are in line with all the legal requirements or contractual obligations.
Assist with construction proposals
Construction lawyers do assist with bidding for proposals, requests for proposals, contract interpretations, as well as an invitation for bidding. Moreover, a construction attorney can assist in challenging un-awarded proposals.
Limitations of a Construction Attorney
Construction attorneys are not the same as real estate attorneys. This means they cannot assist with the processes of buying or selling real estate property. Moreover, construction attorneys are not involved with transactions or business components related to buying the property where the construction process will take place.
What Should I Do before Hiring a Construction Lawyer?
There are several things that you should do to make this process stress-free. Some of these things include:
- Start by organizing the necessary documents and paperwork. It would help if you made them readily available for the attorney.
- Document everything – make sure that all the change orders, contracts and other essential documents are in writing and signed. Moreover, you should make sure that you have backup documents for the project.
- Abide by the contracts and then send the needed contract notices. When you abide by the contract, your potential legal opponent won’t have any leverage in case of a legal dispute.
- Try to avoid disputes as much as possible—this might look straightforward, but it’s very easy. Moreover, it will not cost you anything to prevent disputes, rather than resolving something that has already happened.
- Always leverage your lien rights in case of payment issues. Send initial notices and a notice of intent to line in case you have a payment dispute. If you don’t know much about lien rights, they are just rights—and they have been set to make sure that you are paid the money that you’ve earned. Therefore, you shouldn’t shy from leveraging these rights!