Construction projects can involve anywhere from a few, to a multitude of parties. The legal risk exposure that comes with that fact alone should be reason enough to hire a construction attorney. If that doesn't motivate you, here are four more reasons to consider retaining counsel.
Establishing Responsibility for Different Elements of a Build
When things go bad on a project, everyone will point at someone else and assign blame to them. If a structural failure occurs, for example, the designers, engineers, and architects will point to clauses in their contracts that specify exact materials choices. This will drive the blame toward the contractors, who will then have to show that they either met the specifications or never signed off on the specs.
A construction lawyer will tell you it's wise to be painfully clear about who is responsible for what. It's also prudent to make sure the actions of third-party designees, such as subcontractors, are assigned appropriately to those who hired them.
This is arguably the other side of the same coin. What is represented in a contract for a construction job is critical. If a company says it can get the electrical work at a site done to a particular standard, that representation matters. For those making representations, it's important to not overstate their capabilities. Likewise, contracting parties need to make sure the contractors are signing off on relevant representations of their skills.
While it's easy to get caught up in what might go wrong, there is also plenty of reason to care about what can go right. Incentives should be structured to be fair to the parties being paid. That means that, foremost, they should be attainable and clearly worded. If they get the job done well ahead of schedule and the incentives reward that, there should be zero uncertainty about how much will be paid and when.
Most projects proceed in stages. A construction attorney can help you make sure the different stages are outlined clearly in the contract. These stages should be tied to necessary financing in the form of tranches. In addition to working with contractors to make sure tranches are activated in time to keep work rolling, you and the construction lawyer will likely have to work with investors and financial institutions to keep the project funded. You'll want this process to be balanced to minimize disputes and keep everyone happy and on-task.Share