In Texas, the construction industry is booming. With increased construction comes the need for experienced business law counsel that can assist with the unique legal issues that arise. At Feldman & Feldman, ourconstruction law attorneys have experience successfully handling a wide variety of construction law issues.
Construction Law Terms to Know
While there are many important terms to understand when working in the construction industry, some of the most common construction items that are involved in disputes include:
- Construction Defects: It should be no surprise that a defect is a flaw in the construction plan, the construction process, or in the structure itself once it is built that creates a risk of property damage and/or other harm to both people and items contained within or around the structure at any given time.
- Mechanic’s Lien: This is a charge or encumbrance placed on a structure or building site by a construction company to assure payment for labor, material, and services.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Also known as OSHA, this federal government agency regulates the safety and health precautions implemented in workplaces. The agency also provides an avenue for employees to file a safety or health complaint regarding their working conditions.
- Contractors: Arguably the simplest term, many people understand that a contractor is someone contracted to repair or build a structure. Contractors are generally required to hold a state license in the state wherein they are performing the work contemplated within their contracts and/or work for some form of local government.
What is Construction Law?
Construction law refers to any legal issue revolving around the construction of a building or other types of structure, such as a highway or bridge. Federal statutes are often workplace safety regulations and employment laws imposed on construction companies. States can impose further guidelines for worker safety, environmental rules, and a fairer, clearer hiring process. City and county rules more commonly address any specific and unique local regulations like zoning restrictions and noise level restrictions. Of course, a huge part of construction law revolves around workplace injuries and accidents, construction defects, contract issues, and problems obtaining the correct permits to build. Some of the most common construction law issues we handle include:
Creating a timeline to have a structure built is a difficult job. Projects don’t always go as planned, leading to construction workers needing more time to finish particular parts of a project or the entire project. This is because any further work and time needed to finish a project require a higher cost. Also, if the timelines increase in duration, the price of materials can rise. Parties can quickly start feuding over project delays and schedule changes if they violate the terms of contractual agreements or drastically increase the parties’ financial obligations.
Workmanship and Surety Issues
Anytime workmanship gets questioned, tempers can inflame the situation. A surety bond is a three-part agreement between an owner (the hiring party), a contractor, and usually, an insurance company that promises to satisfy the contractor’s obligations in case the contractor fails to perform its duties in accordance with the construction contract. If parties disagree on the quality of the workmanship, it can bring projects to a screeching halt.
Termination is often thought of as a lose-lose situation for all parties involved. A contract can be automatically terminated based on an event or series of events that give rise to a right of termination. Some of the most common reasons for contract termination are nonpayment, underperformance, and/or nonperformance by one or more parties to the agreement, timeline delays, and more. All alternatives should be explored before considering contractor termination.
Construction and/or Design Defects
Accusations of structural defects, substandard materials, or code violations are incredibly serious and need to be investigated and handled very carefully. Common construction defects include stained drywall around windowsills and ceilings, major electrical issues, cracks in tile flooring or patios, leaky roofs, and many more.
When contractors and suppliers go unpaid, they have a right to enforce mechanic’s liens under Texas law.A lien ensures that workers are paid before anyone else in the event of a liquidation. Sometimes, mechanic’s liens are required to secure construction help on a project.
Contract Drafting and Negotiations
Unlike business contracts and other types of contracts, construction contracts have industry-specific considerations. Only experienced construction lawyers will understand your needs and can protect your interests when drafting and negotiating construction contracts.
OSHA Citations and Proceedings
Being proactive is the best way to prevent costly fines from OSHA and other regulatory agencies. For businesses already facing violations and citations, quick and efficient remedies are the best way to prevent further damage.
Houston Construction Lawyers
At Feldman & Feldman, our Houston construction lawyers have experience handling all aspects of construction law issues. We are well versed in business law and can represent contractors, builders, developers, subcontractors and suppliers, design professionals, and owners/buyers, among other parties. If you are just starting a project, contact us to see how we can help prevent costly future litigation.
If you are already facing construction litigation, call us today to schedule a consultation. We can analyze your situation and develop a successful strategy that protects your interests and keeps your project and your business moving forward.