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More stories about Legal

  • Why Use a 'Time Is of the Essence' Provision in Contracts?

    Most construction projects have a specific time frame, and if completion is delayed, they look to the contract for recourse.

  • Requirements for Filing a Lien

    Attorney Patrick Barthet clarifies the requirements for filing a mechanic's lien based on a recent court case.

  • Passive House Costs Explored

  • Negotiating an End to a Contract

    There are a number of ways to terminate construction contracts. Spec builders have it easy — their contracts typically allow them to terminate problem customers at their own discretion by notifying the customer and refunding what has been paid. They can then sell the house to another buyer. This...

  • 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...

  • Cleaning the Slate

    A short time ago, a remodeler hired me to solve a dispute he had with a customer. He had been building an addition, and when he began framing the walls he discovered that the foundation slab was out of square. The concrete sub owned up to the mistake, and at no charge to the customer fixed the...

  • 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.

  • When to Call a Lawyer

    Contractors tend to avoid calling for legal help. Partly this is because they're used to solving their own problems, and partly it's because they don't want to rack up attorney's fees. But certain circumstances — let's call them legal emergencies — absolutely require immediate legal counsel.