Design Contracts

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Settling Construction Disputes

As a contractor, you have a 1 in 4 chance that a lawsuit will be filed against you. Read more

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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. Read more

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Correcting Construction Contracts

Can a mistake related to a contract be corrected? It depends on who makes the error and how it affects the agreement. Read more

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Requirements for Filing a Lien

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

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Are Your Contracts Bulletproof?

Effective July 1, 2009, the state of Pennsylvania will require a written contract for nearly every construction task in or around a residence — even minor repair work like repainting or reroofing. Read more

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The Legal Risks of Building Green

The sudden popularity of all things green is exposing builders — whether they know it or not — to new legal risks. There are risks associated with drafting the contract, navigating the permit approval process, and resolving disputes over projects that fail to achieve their sustainability goals. Read more

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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 isn’t an option for remodelers. Read more

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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 would never stiff him. “Besides,” said the young man, “I can always put a lien on the property.” Read more

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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. Read more

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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. Read more

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