A short time ago I got a call from a builder with whom I've worked for many years. He usually seeks legal advice before jumping into something new, but this time he was a bit slow to check in. The builder had terminated a homeowner's renovation contract before the work was complete and was being sued for $200,000 in damages.

According to the builder, the job was tough from the start. There was no architect, and the homeowner scrutinized subcontractors' work and questioned the job foreman's judgments. There were six change orders in the first four weeks of work, all caused by the owner's indecision. The owner complained and interfered so much that the subcontracted...

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