This blog article is written by our newest construction law paralegal, Francisco Garcia-Soroeta. Francisco joined the Cobb Law Group’s construction practice to serve our all of our clients including Spanish speaking construction professionals throughout Georgia with their construction contracts, payment issues, and construction litigation.
When beginning operations on a new construction project everything is going well and the future is bright, but without following these simple steps, it can be lead astray quite quickly. This can result in liens being filed by angry subcontractors or getting embroiled in an expensive lawsuit with a purchaser. Minor overlooks and mistakes can be made along the way, that if properly avoided or handled, can lead to your project’s success and an enduring reputation. Consulting an Experienced Georgia Construction Law Attorney can help you avoid issues and ensure smooth sailing during the duration of your construction project. The Cobb Law Group has dedicated its practice solely to Georgia Construction Law and will be your best ally during the planning, bidding and actual construction of your project.
Guideline #1: Plan Your Construction Project Properly
A proper inspection can help you avoid costly expenses in the future. Usually the owners in their excitement will think any project can be done properly and within budget without thinking of unexpected costs due to an improper inspection. Overlooking potential issues is a very common occurrence. For example, some proprietors buy buildings and only plan to renovate but the building could be riddled with lead paint or asbestos. The list of potential problems is endless, by hiring the correct people (i.e. architects & engineers) to sign off on the project you can avoid these issues and stay on-budget.
Guideline #2: Go Over Your Construction Contract!
We know that it can be extremely time consuming and “boring” to go over a construction contract but properly reviewing every minute detail of your contract with an Experienced Construction Law Attorney can help you avoid potential disaster. If one of your contractor’s delays ordering certain supplies and the price goes way up or after the fact you realize certain aspects of the few hundred apartments you just built don’t muster up to regulations. You’re going to have to find out post-judgement that you have to write a massive check to correct the issue! Don’t assume that every contract is standard and that “everybody signs it”. If you work in the construction industry, go through the process of creating your own form contracts. If you’re working with the other party’s contract, consult an experienced Georgia Construction Law Attorney to help you go through and negotiate it. Going through this process a few times will help you gain the knowledge and understanding to navigate through your future deals.
Guideline # 3: Invest in Quality Construction
During the bidding phase one can be easily enticed to go for the cheapest contractor. We’re here to tell you to refrain, the cheapest contractor will usually perform a sub-par job and will end up creating issues that will make your project costlier. So, in reality, the lowest bidder can end up being the most expensive, once you add up the costs to fix the contractors initial mistakes. After the bidding phase, investigate each contractor, look into their reputations and assess which will give you a proper balance between quality and price. Word of mouth is a powerful tool; a contractor will not receive rave reviews if their work isn’t up to snuff. These are more likely to do a proper job the first time around and stay within budget.
Guideline #4: Beware of Legal Action
As regulations and requirements become more stringent on construction projects, the likelihood of legal action against you increases as well. Wages on different types of projects are strictly regulated by the government, which means that hourly wages for certain skills can increase dramatically. If your subcontractors or suppliers are not properly compensated they can file a claim of lien against your project (commonly referred to as a mechanic’s lien, materialmen’s lien, construction lien, or subcontractor’s lien). By knowing what your contracts entail, in consultation with an Experienced Construction Law Attorney, you can protect yourself from this type of action properly. If purchasers, such as those in a new housing development or apartment complex, find flaws with your construction it can lead very costly lawsuits; the best way you can protect yourself against this is by strictly following Guideline #3 and hire contractors that value quality of work overall. Make sure that your contract stipulates what exactly what task is whose responsibility and what would happen if such is not performed. Pay close attention to the work going on in every part of your project in order to be able to pinpoint specific issues and not having to start over again. On larger projects, you may want to consider requiring bonds.
Guideline #5: Make Sure You and Your Project is Properly Covered
There are always hazards presented at a construction project, albeit to people or property. The best way to make sure you’re covered is to assess what the proper insurance coverage would be when formulating the deal. When appraising the correct insurance coverage for your project make sure it protects you as well. Consult your insurance agent and construction law attorneys during this process in order to avoid problems in the future. But perhaps the most important step to follow is to gather evidence: certificates, endorsements & policies; make sure that everybody that is supposed to purchase coverage does so and submits the required documentation to you.
Following these guidelines, and heeding the advice of your Construction Law Attorney, will ensure prompt and fiscally sound success.