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Construction Law Glossary

Construction Law Terms: Paramount For Your Case

Construction Law: Construction law encompasses all legal issues related to the construction of any building or structure. The legal issues and regulations can occur under federal, state or local laws. Common construction related disputes occur over injuries in the workplace, accidents, construction defects and issues in obtaining the proper planning or building permits.


Construction Lawyer: A construction lawyer handles various legal needs. They will engage in negotiating terms, make site visits, act as the liaison between all parties and ensure everything is running properly throughout the construction process. A construction lawyer can also create contracts, ensure guidelines are followed, as well as represent clients in negotiations and in court if needed. When plans go astray, construction lawyers can gather evidence and give advice on the course of action to take for their clients.


Construction Litigation: An area of law that concerns legal disputes arising from construction projects. Disputes can be small, such as a contractor not being paid. Or the disputes can be more complex, such as claims towards the quality of work. This is a more complex issue because more people are involved, like suppliers, lenders, contractors and subcontractors.


Mechanic’s Liens: A legal claim against a property, which has been remodeled or improved. Suppliers and subcontractors typically use these. If you were to remodel a your kitchen and the supplier that provided the kitchen cabinets did not pay the general contractor, a lien can be placed against your home to recover the money. If you have knowledge that the supplier was not paid, and you pay your contractor, you run the risk that a supplier or subcontractor may still file a mechanic’s lien and hold you responsible even though you already paid your contractor.


Main Contractor: A contractor is not an employee; instead, they are an independent party hired to take on a project. A contract agreement will be written between the company and the contractor they are taking on. Contractors provide services to a client based on a set fee, which can be per hour, day or a lump sum.


Post-Construction Collection Procedures: These collection procedures are the ways in which lawyers go about collecting the money owed to their clients. It is much easier to collect money if a proper contract was created and agreed upon before contracting began.


Post-Construction Litigation: Issues may arise after construction has been completed. If so, post-construction litigation is necessary. These issues can range from buildings not passing inspections to the quality not being up to the client’s liking.


Retention:  This is a percentage of each contract payment, usually ten (10%) percent, that is withhold by you, the owner, from the contract payments to assure the contract is fully performed according the terms of the contract.  The retention is paid to the contractor when the contract is fully complete.


Subcontractors: A main contractor hires a subcontractor. They are hired to perform specific tasks that are part of an overall project. Subcontracting parts of the project can free up time and resources for the contractor, allowing them to focus on other areas that need more attention.


“Standard Form Contract”: Is a contract between two parties, but only one party sets the terms. The other party has no ability to negotiate terms that are more favorable for them. Essentially one party creates a contract and the other must take it or leave it.