Construction projects often have many potential legal implications. Who is liable if an accident occurs on a construction site, for example? Contractors, property owners, architects, engineers, and other parties all want to ensure they can minimize their legal exposure under construction law.
Legal protections in the contracts governing a project are critical. A construction law attorney will focus on these four key protections when they look at a deal.
Especially when a party has to pass their work to someone else for execution, it's important to include the specific requirements in the contract. If an architect determines that a particular grade of steel is necessary for the safety of a structure, for example, that has to go into the wording of the deal. Otherwise, a contractor might substitute substandard materials without fear of liability because it was in the language of the contract.
A construct law attorney will always want to see the greatest specificity possible in the documents covering a project. Do not be afraid to incorporate details down to fractions of inches if you feel they need to be there to protect your interests.
Parties can sometimes accept or assign liability for certain aspects of a project. For example, a contractor might accept liability for worksite injury claims that affect non-employees. It's wise to state clearly who is on the hook if something goes wrong. Also, you should state what sort of insurance coverage they need to carry.
Workmanship and Bonds
Many customers of construction companies ask the builder to put up a bond to assure the level of workmanship for the project. The bond company will then compel the contractor to make corrections to anything that falls below the expected level of workmanship. If the issue can't be resolved, the contracting party may be able to claim the bond and use it to rectify the problem.
Documentation of Compliance
Regulatory concerns hang over many construction efforts, too. For example, a business building near a waterway may have to document that it has taken appropriate steps to prevent run-off from the site affecting water safety and quality. You may need to produce similar documentation to affirm that a building can withstand earthquakes and storms. It's also common for fire safety issues to pop up.
Also, you may need to document conformity to the terms of contracts with private parties. In the previous example involving the materials required by an architect, the contractor would document that they acquired the right type of steel.