What is Construction Law? Construction law is a big part of the building industry.
Contrary to popular perception, buildings, whether they be single-family homes or mega buildings such as shopping centers to not always go smoothly, and when they don’t, construction law comes into the picture.
Defects in workmanship or material
One common application of construction law is defects or perceived defects in workmanship or materials.
Say homeowner contracts a company to build them a home. But upon moving in after the home is built, they find that when they move in the plumbing constantly backs up or the central air conditioning doesn’t work.
Chances are, the homeowner will hire an attorney to get the contractor to rectify the workmanship.
At the same time, if a homeowner contracts to have a home built with a slate roof and discovers the roof was also covered with synthetic slate shingles, then that would be a defect in the material.
Refusal to pay
Another significant part of construction law has to do with the construction contract.
A contractor may give a family or business owner an estimate of how much their construction will cost, but due to supply chain problems and the sudden rises in construction material, the building may run 10 percent or more over the estimates.
Naturally, it depends on what the contract says, but quite often we as clients refuse to pay? Who’s in the right?
Fortunately, much of contract law, which is very sophisticated in the US and other civilized countries coincides with construction law, and the remedies are often codified into law.
However, until construction law attorneys step in, it’s often a “she said, he said situation. what does the contract say.
Speaking of construction law contracts
And speaking of construction law contracts, smart consumers, as well as savvy contractors, have learned that since a great deal of money is at stake and the construction of a building or home often involves not only contractors but subcontractors and that the availability of construction materials can fluctuate significantly, that any building contract should first be reviewed by a construction law attorney.
Keeping it legal
Construction does not take place in a vacuum. Every state, locality or province has strict building laws, a prime example being that the plumbing of a building must be performed by licensed plumbers.
As building codes continually change, a contractor, in particular, must adhere to all such building codes, and as new codes come up, they may need to consult an attorney.
For example, California has experienced a number of devastating wildfires, and as a result, local building codes are evolving to prevent wildfires.
Usually, such regulations are not totally clear, and contractors may need help clarifying new policies.
The bottom line
Whether you are a contractor or a building client, a construction law attorney should be intimately involved in your building projects.