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Other stories by Quenda%20Behler%20Story

  • When the Customer Won't Pay

    Bad things happen in the construction industry when the economy gets rocky. Work is scarce, and it’s hard to get paid. I can’t help you with the work part — but I can tell you how to get paid.

  • Employee Drinking on the Job

    Suppose your lead carpenter calls and says there has been an accident: One of your employees cut his finger off — and by the way, he had alcohol on his breath when it happened. What do you do? If you’re like most contractors, you fire the employee and then say to yourself, “Whew! I’m glad that’s...

  • Beware Hidden Payment Terms

    Earlier this year, a friend of mine had an interesting conversation with a young man who was subcontracting for a GC. The contractor owed the young man a pile of money and my friend was concerned. But the young man assured him there was nothing to worry about, because the contractor was a pal and...

  • Can a Handshake Be a Contract?

    One question I hear fairly often from builders is, “Can a contract with a client be enforced if it’s not in writing?” The short answer is yes, it can. Back in the days when I worked at the legal shark shop, we enforced unwritten contracts all the time — though we sometimes ran into problems.

  • Pitfalls of a Down Economy

    My husband, my brother-in-law, and I were sitting around reminiscing about construction slowdowns we've been through. (What can I say? We're old.) My brother-in-law talked about the '70s, when to avoid laying off his crew he sent them to his mother's house to paint. He was hoping that by the time...

  • Can Property Owners Sue Subs?

    Some time ago in Colorado, a property owner hired a contractor to construct a building. Not long after it was completed, a heavy snowfall caused the roof to collapse. The property owner did what you would expect him to do: He sued the contractor. But he also sued every sub who had ever set foot on...

  • Defining "Green"

    You probably think that I have been around too long and have seen too many contracts to sign anything containing an important specification that isn't clearly defined. Surely I would never do something as stupid as that, right?

  • Who Pays for a Sub's Negligence?

    I preach endlessly about job-site safety and the importance of regular safety inspections.

  • Issues That Keep Me Up at Night

    I thought I'd celebrate JLC's 25th anniversary by writing about legal issues that have been bothering me — and probably you — for the past 25 years. Someone else might have a different list of complaints, but hey, it's my column, so here's mine.

  • The Minuses of Cost Plus

    My observation has been that customers like cost-plus contracts. Even though a cost-plus job and a fixed-price one cost the same — in theory.