When someone mentions a construction lawyer, you get a vague idea about what it’s about, but you can’t really fully explain it, nor why would you need it. This is why in this article we will talk about what exactly a construction lawyer is and why you would potentially need one.
What Does a Construction Lawyer do?
A construction lawyer helps you deal with legal issues regarding infrastructure, engineering, and construction. In order for construction workers to safely do their job, a construction worker is needed to confirm that every rule is being followed perfectly.
The area that construction lawyers cover is vast. It can be anything from roads to government buildings. They are there to clear up any legal disputes between the involved parties (the payer and the company doing the work).
1. Payment Protection
Payment disputes in construction are a common occurrence. As such, it is necessary for the contractor to hire a construction lawyer if they are having trouble receiving the full payment that was promised by the contract. In case when this happens, you are able to file a lawsuit in order to get your unpaid sum. This, however, works both ways. A construction lawyer can also help defend the one getting accused.
If the construction lawyer has good knowledge of construction finance, they are able to represent lenders by assisting with documents regarding loans. They can also advise owners of property about the potential drawbacks of entering a specific lender agreement.
2. Contract Drafting
A construction lawyer serves a purpose during the entire process of construction, from the planning phase to the finishing phase. Depending on the scale of the planned project, you might need expert legal advice about the legal terms of the construction contract. After the contract has been drafted, a construction lawyer can assist you in guiding you through the document and the implied legal implications. There are a lot of hidden and unclear elements in these types of documents, so having an expert help you to fully understand your responsibilities is a good way to always keep yourself protected from any possible inconveniences down the road.
3. Dealing with a Lien
Investopedia defines a lien as a legal right against assets that are typically used as collateral to satisfy a debt. Those that can establish a lien are creditors. It is most commonly used as a mechanism to guarantee the party making the lien that a loan will be repaid. If the repayment obligations are not met, the creditor has a right to seize the assets of the one being accused of not fulfilling their legal obligations. This is a legal mechanism that secures the one making the lien (known as the lienholder). There are multiple types of liens:
- Tax Liens
The government can collect unpaid taxes by using a tax lien. The main difference between tax liens and other types is that the government can attach a lien to all future assets as well. They can also collect your money faster than any other lender. Bankruptcy also is not a viable option for escaping responsibility as it doesn’t apply to tax liens.
- Home Loans
In this scenario, the home serves as collateral when you borrow money to buy it in the first place. This will be specified in the loan document before you sign it. The requirements that you are expected to fulfil include:
1) Making mortgage payments on a regular basis
2) For a set number of years, you have to live in the property in question
3) Insuring the property in question
- Construction Liens
If you don’t pay the workers that are constructing on your property something like, for example, a restaurant, they have the right to file a construction lien. Construction liens can also be filed by any subcontractors that haven’t been paid.
4. Contract Termination
If a suspected wrongful contract termination has happened, a construction lawyer is there to prevent this from hurting you. Big companies will, usually, consult with construction lawyers for legal advice before terminating a contract in order to prevent themselves from getting into any damaging legal implications. They are also there to find a justifiable reason for terminating the contract while also overseeing both parties so that they follow the exact procedure for the contract’s painless termination.
5. Submitting Legal Claims
A construction lawyer is there to assist you or submit the claims for compensation in your name. The reasons for submitting a legal claim include:
- Unjustified delays or stalling
- Unacceptable working conditions
- Disruptions at work
- Design defects or any other type of deviations
- Any other interference with work
6. Project Administration
Some construction lawyers are experts in the area of project administration. As such, they can provide much-needed on-site assistance to contractors and businesses so that they avoid lawsuits. This is why most companies consult with a construction lawyer before making big on-site decisions that could have legal implications later on. Even if an issue arises, a construction lawyer is there to make sure that the problem gets resolved before it could escalate and lead to a full-blown lawsuit.
Overall, construction lawyers have a wide area of expertise and are useful during the entire construction process. So, if you require the assistance of one, don’t hesitate to call a construction lawyer up. One more thing that you should keep in mind is that every business needs insurance. So, it would be wise to ask your construction lawyer about business insurance while you’re still just starting your project.