We answer a few of our most frequently answered questions here.
Leave this one alone. It is necessary to provide all closed accordions.
What does a construction lawyer do?
A construction lawyer handles numerous different legal needs for construction businesses, such as subcontractors and material suppliers, including but not limited to contract review, payment collection such as mechanic’s liens, breach of contract claims and litigation, employment law, and OSHA guidance. We, as your law team, draw up and review construction contracts to ensure you are protected on the front end to prevent costly disputes later on. We also represent you in negotiations and in court if it reaches that point.
Do I need a construction lawyer?
It is recommended to consult with a construction attorney if:
- You run a construction business and need a partner to help you grow your business and limit your risks and liabilities.
- You are starting a new project and want to make sure the subcontract or construction contract you are signing is a fair, legally sound document.
- You haven’t been paid on a job and need to file a mechanic’s lien to secure your right to payment.
- You are having a conflict with your employee or need to set up an employee handbook and processes to ensure you are following local and federal laws.
- You have been issued an OSHA citation and need an attorney to represent you in the administrative proceedings.
- You need to file a lawsuit or a lawsuit has been filed against you.
If you have any doubts or concerns before starting your next project, reaching out to a construction law firm to understand the process and ensuring you are entering into a fair contract might be helpful.
What is a mechanic's lien?
A lien is the vehicle used to make the amounts you are owed a secured debt. A lien is a piece of paper filed in the real property records that says you have an interest in this property because you have not been paid for labor and/or material used to improve the property. It is a public record, there for the world to see. A subcontractor attorney and material supplier attorney can ensure the mechanic’s lien is filed properly so that you can secure your debt and get paid for what you are owed! If the owner does not pay off the lien, the attorney can get a court order forcing the sale of the property to pay off the lien.
What are my rights as a Contractor?
As a Contractor, you have rights and duties under the law. It is best to consult with an experienced construction attorney so that you fully understand what your rights are and recognize the risks you assume with each job. One important thing to keep in mind is that you ALWAYS have lien rights in the State of Texas. No matter what a General Contractor tells you or what your construction contract may say about payment terms, you always have a right to file a mechanic’s lien and secure the debt owed to you.
Should I sign this lien waiver?
In Texas, there are four standard lien waivers:
- Conditional upon Progress Payment
- Unconditional upon Progress Payment
- Conditional upon Final Payment
- Unconditional upon Final Payment
The conditional waiver on progress payment is submitted at the same time a pay application is provided. For the next pay application, you will need an unconditional waiver for the month before and a conditional waiver for the current pay application. This process is followed throughout the whole project, until the final pay application. For the final pay application, the Subcontractor submits the conditional waiver on final payment, which states the total remaining amount you are due for the project, including retainage. Once you are paid in full (including retainage), you supply the General Contractor with the unconditional waiver.
NEVER SIGN AN UNCONDITIONAL LIEN WAIVER UNTIL THE PAYMENT HAS CLEARED AND THE MONEY IS IN THE BANK.
What is the scope?
A scope is what is attached to the contract or subcontract and describes the work you are hired to do. A bid is an offer you send to the General Contractor or Owner saying that you will do the work described for a certain price. Your bid and the scope attached to the contract or subcontract are rarely the same. More importantly, your bid will not become part of the contract. Every time you receive a construction contract to sign, you need to review the scope as if you were reviewing a new project to bid.
What is the first thing I should do when I receive a contract in response to my bid?
Make sure the scope attached to the contract is the same as your bid.
I’ve received my subcontract from the General Contractor. What do I do next?
If you are a Subcontractor, a bad subcontract can land you in a costly lawsuit, where you lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to costly legal fees! As experienced construction law attorneys, we’ve seen these scenarios play out more times than we can count. Call us today to review the contract for a flat rate; we will equip you with the best tools to negotiate your subcontract.
I’ve found myself on the wrong end of a misapplication of construction trust funds claim. What do I do next?
You should always pay your subcontractors and suppliers for good and timely work if you have already been paid by the General Contractor for that project. Your first step is to verify your accounting to make sure all payments have been properly applied to the correct project, and any records of defective work are clear and recorded. Your next step is to contact us. Let us take the pressure off your shoulders and help you with your construction trust fund claims.