If you own a construction company, you are probably aware of all the intricacies that go into a project. Big or small, a construction project has several moving parts. It is a collaboration, not just with the owner of the building but with other contractors, architects, investors, and several others. In such a high stake venture, you must have someone on your side protecting your interests, hence the need for a NY Construction Lawyer.
A construction lawyer can assist you in various ways. Although it is not compulsory you hire one (since the law permits anyone to represent themselves in court) you will do yourself a whole lot of Good if you do.
Everyone involved in the construction project including individual workers, or large companies may require the services of an attorney at one time or the other. Below are some of the scenarios where hiring a construction lawyer becomes very important.
1. Creating contracts and reviewing them: this is the first and most important thing to do before work begins on any type of construction project. An effective contract covers all the terms of the transaction including the schedule, payments, materials and every other detail of the project.
Because the contract is an important tool for litigation, claims and other purposes, you must let a professional prepare it or have it reviewed by a qualified and competent attorney before signing the dotted lines. A lawyer will check the contract for loopholes and red flags and ensure that the terms favor you in case of a dispute in the future. A qualified lawyer will look through a contract and asses the strength and possible weaknesses of the agreement. He or she will also snuff out potential areas of contention and liabilities within the document.
For more on what lawyers look for when evaluating contracts, read here.
2. Dispute Resolution: disputes occurs quite often in the construction industry. This can be anything from a breach of contract from either party parties, professional negligence, or more commonly payment (or rather nonpayment) issues. Hiring a lawyer to represent you during litigation isn’t compulsory but it is highly necessary. Here are some instances:
- Making a lien or bond claim: a claimant who intends to make a bond or lien claim does not typically need an attorney. It pays to have one on your side though but isn’t a rule.
- Enforcing claims: a lawyer will almost always be needed if you intend to take enforcement action either in a bond claim or lien claim.
- Retainage or prompt payment claims: these cases typically require you to take some form of legal action either in the form of a legal threat or an actual court case. For this, it is highly recommended that you hire a lawyer no matter how cut and dry the case may seem. In most cases, a letter demanding for payment sent with a by a NY construction lawyer with a legal threat is usually enough to resolve issues like this. But some cases still end up in a courtroom occasionally. Either way, the attorney’s job will be to help you find the fairest solution that will favor you.
- Contract termination: even if your contract gives you a termination or escalation clause proceeding with this action or any other similar cause of action without caution might result in some form of liability. If you are taking this decision for any reason at all, we recommend that you have a professional look at the contract over and advise you accordingly.
3. Under the threat of a lawsuit: not every threat of a lawsuit can be taken seriously, but in most cases, only a professional can tell if there is a case against you or not. Hence, if you should consult one if you or your business is been threatened with one.
Read this article for a guide on what to do if you are being threatened with legal action. http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/responding-correspondence-threatening-legal-action
4. Guidance regarding permits, licensing and regulations: no matter the size of your construction project, you will most likely need to get a permit from local authorities before you can proceed. Attorneys can guide you through the process of obtaining land use, environment or workplace safety permits. Even if you can do this on your own, having an expert will sufficient knowledge of the state and national building code will no doubt speed up the process.