Construction projects are more than what meets the eye. They are not just about building structures, big or small, or hammering and chipping away at wood or concrete. Commercial and residential building entails paperwork, getting a permit from your local town authority, coming up with contracts with your clients, and so much more.
This is way beyond the expertise of someone who runs a construction business. Hence the best person you should ask for advice in going about these dealings is a lawyer. Before going into the nitty-gritty details of why you need a lawyer for your construction business, it is best to be acquainted first with the concept of construction law.
What is construction law?
Construction law deals with regulations concerning designing, planning, and the actual building of infrastructures. This is not only limited to a set of guidelines and requirements a construction business must comply with. It also involves safety measures, employment contracts, and other agreements which you may go into during your building projects.
In Australia alone, many firms have the best building lawyers Sydney has to offer. Construction law can be a niche practice on its own as it has its specific statutory guidelines, otherwise known as building codes, that must be strictly complied with.
Here are the things to consider why it is vital to seek the advice of a construction lawyer or have a law firm be your legal counsel when starting a construction project:
Mitigate Risks and Foresee Future Problems
Lawyers, in general, are trained for problem-solving, and their legal expertise includes ensuring that they are one step ahead of any conflict or issue that may arise in their client’s dealings. To have legal counsel when starting with a project provides a safety net for you, as a legal expert can help identify potential bottlenecks and prevent future mistakes.
Potential problems can be employees not showing up on the site, cash flow hiccups, or suppliers not executing their end of the agreement. The list can go on, and having a lawyer within your reach can save you the stress and time of dealing with these matters by yourself.
Entering Into and Reviewing Contracts
Construction projects involve a strict and tight schedule and often deal with a considerable amount of money. When commencing a project, a skillful lawyer is required so that the parties in the construction contract can lay down their obligations. A construction lawyer, in foresight, can also know what kind of legal protection is needed by his client.
Once the agreement has been drafted, reviewed and signed by each of the parties, it becomes the law between them, and breach of contract of either party can be subject to civil and sometimes even criminal action. Hence, the guidance of a lawyer is vital to ensure that both parties understand and mutually agree with the terms and stipulations they drafted within their agreement.
Having a Legal Opinion When It Comes to Related Laws to Construction
When you are also starting a construction project, you, as a contractor or a design or building professional entity, need a skilled lawyer who knows insurance law, city ordinances or building codes, and other statutory regulations.
Since this is beyond your expertise, being in a construction business or firm, you can leave the legalities in the hands of your counsel. Other laws that you would need to consider are zoning, land use regulations, environmental policies, and labor safety laws.
Solving Business Disputes and Conflict
Disputes and conflicts would inevitably arise during the project’s duration, most often over financial matters or status of completion of such project. Construction projects will also involve levels of subcontractors, and the higher you are up the management ladder, the more there is a risk for non-payment of labor and materials.
On your side, as the client, a construction lawyer can prepare notices and liens due to non-payment of the one you entered into the construction project with. This is to enforce what is stipulated within the agreement. This will also ensure that you will be compensated for the work performed throughout the operation.
Dealing with Labor Disputes
Other legal matters you should expect to face during the construction endeavor are labor complaints such as injury claims or worker’s compensation. Although the subcontractor company should deal with this, you, as the principal employer in the project’s duration, can be held solidarily liable when it comes to unpaid labor.
A competent legal counsel will assist you when dealing with such matters by objectively evaluating the options and route of action to solve these disputes. A compromise is always an excellent solution to avoid litigation, which might be costly and even halt the project itself.
When starting a construction project, hiring a lawyer is indeed a necessity and not just a luxury. From the start up to the conclusion of the project, it is crucial to have your lawyer in every step of the way. This will ensure that you will have a smooth and successful transaction with your clients and protect you from any future legal issues.