When a construction attorney represents an association, there are several key issues they'll help a client with. From before a project starts until after it is finished, they can help you address the following three possible concerns.
Unsurprisingly, a construction lawyer can help you draw up or review a contract. Throughout a project, you'll likely end up working with architects, engineers, and builders. Each of these interactions will have a contract attached, and these agreements are critical to protecting your rights if something goes wrong.
The contract needs to incorporate much of the building process. This means it needs to make certain things that occur after the contract legally-binding. For example, you'll want to have all of the paperwork signed for blueprints, materials purchases, and work orders incorporated in a way that holds parties accountable.
Within the agreements you'll sign, there will also be clauses assigning liability. Additionally, they should include your requirements for proof of licensing, insurance, and bonding.
Be aware that construction liability tends to break up into two distinct categories. Most forms of negligence are insurance issues. For example, if a poorly engineered walkway leads to several injuries a couple of years after the project ends, the engineer's insurance would likely cover medical expenses for the injured parties. Essentially, these are personal injury claims, and you'll want the liability clauses in your contract to assign liability to the appropriate party.
The second category is professional liability, and that covers things like work delays, measurement errors, and failures to meet specifications. These cases usually are handled through a bonding company, and compensation is awarded to the client.
One major aspect of filing claims is demonstrating a good-faith effort. If you need to go after a general contractor for failing to meet your specifications for materials on a job, for example, you should try to communicate your concerns to the contractor first. Allowing them an opportunity to fix things is seen as acting in good faith, and it improves the chances the bonding company will move your claim ahead.
Bear in mind, however, the bonding firm may also take time to give the contractor a chance to make things right. If the problem can't be fixed, the bond will be paid to you for an amount that doesn't exceed the maximum value of the bond. A construction attorney may still have to go after the contractor to recover the portion not covered by their deductible, though.
To find out more, reach out to a local construction lawyer.
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