Construction projects can be complicated and disagreements can result in expensive legal problems.
Many construction projects are complicated and involve many parties, including the owner, the architect, the contractor, and any subcontractors. It is easy for disagreements to arise during a construction project, which can result in costly legal problems.
Every party involved in the construction project needs to be aware of their rights and obligations at all times. While it may seem easier not to worry about this aspect, it is important that all parties understand the legal aspects of their contracts in order to avoid disputes or breach of contract claims. Disputes can often be avoided by careful drafting of contracts and/or having an attorney review agreements before signing them.
It is recommended for subcontractors performing work on a construction project to have an attorney review their contract with the general contractor before signing it. Similarly, property owners should have an attorney review any contract they enter into with architects or contractors; this ensures that you understand your rights and obligations under the agreement prior to signing it.
Below, we explain why it is important to use construction lawyers in construction projects.
What Do Construction Lawyers Do?
A construction attorney can help you in your construction project by doing the following:
- Drafting building contracts. They can help you draft and vet building contracts to make sure you are fully protected as a contractor or as an owner of the property. A skilled lawyer will have an excellent understanding of the laws surrounding these types of contracts and can be sure that yours meets all legal requirements.
- Helping with disputes. If there is some type of dispute, the lawyer can help mediate and negotiate a solution, which could include litigation if need be. The ideal scenario is to avoid lawsuits when possible, but they are there if necessary.
- Dealing with defects and liens. These attorneys know how to handle issues like defects and liens that may arise during construction projects, making sure you get the best resolution for any problems that occur.
- Assisting with claims, mediation, and arbitration proceedings as needed. In addition to helping with specific issues related to the project itself, these lawyers are familiar with the many ways connected parties interact throughout a construction process, such as through bond proceedings or mediation attempts for disputes that arise between contractors and subcontractors involved in a project or even with insurance companies involved in acting on behalf of insured parties who may be affected by something associated with ongoing construction work (a good example here being someone attempting to file an insurance claim after a house fire but having it denied because the damage was caused by negligence during construction).
Do You Need a Construction Lawyer?
A construction lawyer will help you with disputes, contractual reviews, and court proceedings. If you have a large dispute that could result in legal action, then it is worth hiring a lawyer. Smaller cases can be handled by you or a project manager but it may still be worth hiring one for their expert advice.
Unfortunately, the cost of your case will have some effect on whether or not you can hire a lawyer. The upside is that many lawyers will offer free consultations where they’ll evaluate your case and provide information about how much it would cost to seek further legal action.
Reviewing a Construction Contract
If you are a builder, owner, or contractor involved in a construction project, you really need to make sure that your contract is properly drafted and reviewed by a lawyer. This is particularly important if the contract requires any changes to standard construction documents. The following points are some of the issues that a lawyer will review when preparing or reviewing your construction contract:
- Make sure that the general contractor’s contract with an owner (or if the general contractor is also acting as an owner, the contact between them and their subcontractors) is clear and understandable.
- Make sure that any changes to standard industry forms are consistent with the other contract documents.
- Make sure that all terms of the contract are lawful, especially those dealing with payment terms and holdbacks.
How Important is It to Use Construction Lawyers in Construction Projects?
If you are sued, it is important to respond in a timely manner. In the majority of cases, you will be served with a Summons and Complaint. The summons in general states how many days you have to respond to the complaint (usually 30 days). If you fail to respond in time, the other party can then ask the court for a default judgment against you. This means that they will be able to get what they are asking for without having an actual trial.
The best way to answer your legal questions is always by contacting a construction lawyers in Sydney.
Parties under the threat of suit
According to experts and the National Association of Counsel for Construction, construction lawyers are required in every single commercial project. If you’re building a new building or renovating an existing one, you need to get a lawyer involved early on so he can ensure your project is as safe and sound as possible.
Choosing the right course of action
A lot of people are often reluctant to call a construction attorney because they think that doing so will make litigation inevitable. That’s not true. In fact, calling a construction lawyer at the right time is one of the best ways to avoid litigation.
Construction lawyers know when you need to bring in a mediator or an arbitrator and when it’s time to sit down with the other party and iron out the dispute on your own.
It is important, then, to contact a construction attorney as soon as you know that there might be a legal issue with your project. In this way, you have someone on hand who can guide you through mediation, arbitration, and negotiation before things get too tense and expensive.
For example, if you are building a home for someone who has asked for more than what is laid out in the contract he or she may want an extra room built into the plans you want to discuss this with your lawyer first before moving forward with any changes or modifications.