What Types of Damages Are Available for a Breach of Contract by a Contractor - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

What Types of Damages are Available for a Breach of Contract by a Contractor?

Construction law is one of the most complex types of legal practices that frequently involves several issues surrounding a dispute between a property owner and a general contractor. Several different parties that include a homeowner, general contractor, material supplier, lending institution, and/or one or more special contractors can become embroiled in a legal dispute that takes a considerable amount of time and financial resources to resolve. Receiving legal support from an experienced construction attorney significantly boosts your case against a general contractor during a breach of contract dispute.

Hiring a construction attorney provides you with several types of legal support. First, a lawyer conducts a thorough investigation into your case. For a breach of contract, this involves reviewing the contract to determine the legal obligations placed on the general contractor. Your construction attorney then decides whether the general contractor has violated any of the legal obligations written into the contract. If the general contractor discovers one or more violations of the construction contract, you consult with your attorney to agree on the best solution to resolve the breach of contract. Another benefit of hiring a construction attorney is to learn the statute of limitations for construction defects in California.

Construction contracts establish the terms of a project, as well as ensure all parties involved in a project comply with their legal obligations. When all parties involved fulfill their legal obligations, construction projects typically run smoothly from the first to the last day of a project. However, when one party breaches a construction contract, chaos can ensue to the point when a construction project comes to a halt.

Let’s review the most common types of damages for a breach of contract by a contractor.

Compensatory Damages

As one of the most common types of compensation awarded for a breach of contract, compensatory damages cover the unfilled financial obligations written into a contract. This can include paying for the cost of materials, repairs to damage, and/or the hiring of a new general contractor to complete the project. Receiving compensatory damages might require your construction attorney to determine whether the general contractor committed one or more acts of negligence.

Restitution

Restitution returns all of the money promised by a property owner. This type of compensation is approved when a general contractor fails to complete any phases of a construction project. For example, if a general contractor agreed to complete three phases of a $500,000 renovation project and the general contractor failed to complete any of the project phases, the property owner can request restitution valued at $500,000.

Liquidated and Nominal Damages

Liquidated damages help all parties involved to avoid a bitter dispute. This type of damage is automatically agreed to because of the wording of a construction contract. The parties involved agree a breach of contract has occurred, but they decide to proceed with the project while handling the issue or issues involved in a professional manner. Nominal damages refer to the awarding of damages for a breach of contract, but the breach did not cause significant financial losses to either party.

Rescission

Rescission is a legal term that refers to terminating the rights of all parties involved in a construction project. It puts every party involved in the positions they held before signing a construction contract. Rescission is a common remedy because it does not require the parties to continue working together on a construction project.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Why Is Law Important to the Construction Industry - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

Why Is Law Important to the Construction Industry?

Construction law represents a practice that exclusively covers construction legal issues, whether you are involved in a commercial or residential construction project. Some of the reasons why you need a construction attorney to provide legal support during a project include signing contracts, following zoning requirements, and ensuring compliance with every safety standard established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Construction law is important to the construction industry for several reasons. The primary purpose of construction law is to set legal guidelines for ensuring the completion of a hassle-free construction project. To understand why construction law is important for the construction industry, you first have to understand the fundamentals behind construction law.

What Are the Fundamentals Behind Construction Law?

Knowing the fundamentals of construction law can help you resolve a dispute. A construction attorney explains the underlying factors that caused a dispute, and then suggests ways to resolve the dispute. Without construction law, disputes would go unresolved and hence, projects would stall. All parties involved in a dispute must have a deep understanding of the legal issues that construction and real estate laws resolve.

Parties involved in disputes that concern violations of construction law include suppliers, general contractors, independent contractors, government regulators, and property owners and operators. Each party involved in a construction dispute should know how to protect their interests if they face a situation that involves another party accusing them of violating one or more construction laws. Working with an experienced construction attorney helps you understand your legal options when it comes to resolving a dispute.

What Are Some Examples of Why Constriction Law is Important to the Construction Industry?

Construction law is important to the construction industry for many reasons. Here are a few common examples that describe why construction law helps protect your financial interests.

Create Property Lines

An often overlooked, yet essential issue that comes up in construction law involves creating property lines. Construction law is important because it establishes the physical boundaries between two or more properties. Working with a construction attorney helps you verify zoning laws that define the use of a property.

Contract Issues

Construction law is particularly important to the construction industry when contract issues arise during a project. Contracts contain information such as costs, deadlines, and project responsibilities. Contract issues represent one of the most common reasons why both contractors and property owners hire construction lawyers. Like most contracts, construction contracts are full of loopholes and confusing legal jargon that requires the legal expertise of an experienced construction attorney.

Payment Disputes

Construction law is important to the construction industry because it describes how to resolve payment disputes. Your construction attorney describes a mechanic’s lien and how it impacts the construction project for both contractors and property owners. Getting paid in full and on time is one of the most fundamental principles established by construction law.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

What is The Statute of Limitations for Construction Defects in California - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

What is The Statute of Limitations for Construction Defects in California?

When you hire a general contractor to oversee a residential construction project, you expect the general contractor to fulfill every legal obligation spelled out in a business contract. One of the most important issues to address concerns one or more construction defects. When a general contractor fails to fix a construction defect, the business contract signed by both parties should define how the homeowner should proceed with ensuring the construction defect gets fixed.

One of the legal actions that you can take involves filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. When you meet with a construction attorney for an evaluation, the lawyer you meet with conducts a thorough review of your case to determine whether filing a civil lawsuit represents the most effective legal action. Perhaps the general contractor managing your residential construction process decides to address the construction defect or both parties agree to try and negotiate a settlement.

Your construction attorney provides several types of legal support, which includes ensuring you file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages before the expiration of the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations establishes a deadline for a plaintiff to file a civil lawsuit concerning a construction defect. Each state has set a statute of limitations for filing a construction defect lawsuit. California has established the statute of limitations for construction defect lawsuits based on the type of construction defect case, such as breach of contract and one or more acts of negligence committed by the general contractor or one of the special contractors hired for just your residential construction project.

Breach of Contract

As a type of business and commercial law, a breach of contract for a construction project involves a homeowner hiring a general contractor to perform construction work on a residential property. The business contract clearly describes the responsibilities assumed by the general contractor, which includes following a process to fix any construction defects. When a general contractor refuses to follow the legal guidelines written into a business contract to address construction defects, the homeowner has the right to seek a legal remedy that can include receiving compensation for failing to repair property damage.

In California, homeowners have four years from the date of discovering a construction defect to file a breach of contract lawsuit for one or more construction defects. The four-year deadline applies to written business contracts. If the construction contract consisted of an oral agreement, the plaintiff has two years to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.

Negligence

If a general contractor failed to follow proper construction project protocols, the homeowner might have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit for negligence. Causing a construction defect because of hiring an inexperienced special contractor represents an example of a general contractor committing an act of negligence. The construction attorney who represents you during a civil lawsuit must show the general contractor assumed a duty of care to prevent construction defects. Your lawyer also must prove the general contractor breached the duty of care doctrine, as well as committed an act of negligence that caused property damage and generated financial losses.

Why Hiring a Construction Attorney Can Help Build a Strong Case

Because of the complexity of California construction defect laws, hiring an experienced attorney can help you gain a better understanding of the various statutes, such as the statute of repose. Your construction attorney ensures you file a civil lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations. If you fail to meet the deadline for filing a civil lawsuit, you can expect the court clerk processing your case to remove it from the judicial docket.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Questions to Ask a Construction Lawyer Before Hiring - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

Questions to Ask a Construction Lawyer Before Hiring

Before you meet with a construction attorney, you should spend time preparing for the meeting by organizing the evidence associated with your case, as well as any legal documents that you have filed to date. In addition, you also should come prepared to ask questions that help you decide whether the attorney you have scheduled a meeting with is the best one to represent you during a construction dispute.

In addition to discovering the experience a construction attorney has compiled, you also want to get answers to more technical questions.

Do You Know the Difference Between Construction Law and Construction Defect?

Does the construction attorney understand the difference between construction law and construction defect? Few attorneys that do not specialize in construction law know the answer to this question. Asking this question ensures you hire a construction attorney who specializes in handling cases involving construction disputes. 

What is a Mechanic’s Lien?

When you ask the more technical questions during a case evaluation, you are not looking to receive long, drawn-out answers that confuse you. For example, getting an answer to the question, “Can you describe for men what is a mechanic’s lien” should be short and simple.

A mechanic’s lien represents a legal maneuver that provides a general contractor overseeing a construction project with a financial security interest in the property under construction. If a general contractor and/or a supplier do not get paid during a construction project, they file a mechanic’s lien to secure payment. Suppliers and general contractors in California must serve a preliminary notice within 20 days of the first day of providing labor or materials.

What Are the Licensing Law Requirements for California Contractors?

California has established construction licensing laws to ensure contractors possess the required skills, as well as follow local building codes. Licensing laws in California also discourage unlicensed workers from participating in both commercial and residential construction projects. Unlicensed individuals that perform construction work can result in projects that produce significant property damage, as well as lead to workers getting involved in an onsite accident that causes serious injuries.

To qualify for a California construction license, contractors must prove a certain level of experience that includes passing the appropriate test for their specific trades. The construction attorney that you hire helps you determine whether a contractor under consideration to lead your project has earned the proper licenses.

What is a Scope of Work?

Also referred to as a statement of work, a scope of work represents a section in the construction contract that describes in detail the work to be completed by a contractor. A scope of work that is written correctly creates project expectations that include milestones, job duties, and technical specifications. The section in a construction contract that describes the scope of work should clearly define issues such as the process to handle payment disputes, as well as discuss how to address project delays and construction defects.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Is It Illegal to Hire an Unlicensed Contractor in CA - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

Is It Illegal to Hire an Unlicensed Contractor in CA?

You have created a game plan for a long-anticipated and labor-intensive home improvement project. Now, the time has come to hire a general contractor to manage the project, including establishing a timeline, producing a budget, and recruiting independent contractors to handle the specialized requirements of your project. Working with a construction attorney can answer the questions you have concerning your home improvement project. Although we answer a wide variety of questions for clients, one question is critically important to know the answer to because of the legal implications.

Is it illegal to hire an unlicensed contractor?

California real estate law for contractors contains many strict statutes that, if violated, can negatively impact the legal status of both a homeowner and the general contractor working on a home improvement project. In California, a homeowner is prohibited from hiring an unlicensed general contractor, or any type of contractor for the matter. An unlicensed contractor not only cannot complete a construction project, but the contractor is also forbidden from developing the blueprints for the project as well.

A homeowner can get into legal trouble by hiring an unlicensed contractor, and the contractor faces legal consequences as well.

California business and commercial law makes it illegal for an unlicensed contractor to work on any type of residential construction project that is valued at more than $500. This covers virtually every type of residential construction and home improvement project. The $500 threshold includes the labor costs and the expenses associated with purchasing materials. California has passed a strict law covering unlicensed general contractors and the state consistently enforces the statute. The only exception to the unlicensed contractor law is if a contractor acquires a properly issued contractor’s license during the time the contractor worked on a construction or home improvement project.

Serious Legal Consequences for a General Contractor

A general contractor takes a huge risk bidding on a project, without obtaining a license to work in California. If you are a general contractor that does not have a license and the state discovers your unlicensed credentials, you can face a misdemeanor charge for violating California law. The misdemeanor charge carries a jail sentence of up to six months and/or a fine of no more than $5,000. A general contractor might face additional fines, depending on the type of project and the nature of the work completed. Additional fines can range between $200 and $15,000.

If a contractor gets caught a second time, the legal consequences become much more serious. The contractor must spend at least a mandatory 90 days in jail and pay a fine of $5,000 or 20 percent of the value of the work completed to date. If a judge invokes the 20 percent penalty, a contractor can face a fine that runs into tens of thousands of dollars.

Unlicensed Contractors May Be Required to Return Any Monies Taken

Business and Professions Code Section 7031(b) provides:

Except as provided in subdivision (e), a person who utilizes the services of an unlicensed contractor may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction in this state to recover all compensation paid to the unlicensed contractor for performance of any act or contract.

B&P Code Section 7031 was enacted by the Legislature to “protect the public from incompetence and dishonest in those who providing building and construction services…the licensing requirements provide minimal assurance that all persons offering such services in California have the requisite skill and character, understand applicable local laws and codes, and know the rudiments of administering a contracting business.” (See Wright v. Issak (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 1116, 1123.) 

If you hired an unlicensed contractor or you believe the contractor may be unlicensed for any reason, you may be entitled to recover all monies paid to the contractor pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 7031. There are many nuisances to when a contractor may or may not be licensed. If you believe you have hired an unlicensed contractor, contact the attorneys at Alves Radcliffe LLP. There is a one year statute of limitations on these claims and homeowners are advised to seek out legal advice as soon as possible. 

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Appeals, Appellate Courts, and Cost - Alves RadCliffe

Appeals, Appellate Courts, and Cost

What is an Appeal?

An appeal represents the legal process that involves asking an appellate court to review a decision made by a judge during a civil trial. The appellate attorney files an appeal not to initiate another civil trial, but instead, to make the case that the judge who heard the arguments during the civil trial made one or more mistakes concerning the law. One party that files the appeal is called the appellant, while the party that faces an appeal is called the appellee. The court that hears an appeal is called the appellate court or the court of appeals.

You can file an appeal only after your case has established a final ruling, although there are a few exceptions to the rule. The few exceptions include filing an “interlocutory appeal,” which appeals a decision issued by a judge during an ongoing case. Appealing a trial court decision does not stop the decision from going into effect. You must follow the decision issued by the judge who heard your case until your appeal is resolved.

An appeal is not a legal process that allows you to introduce new evidence. The appellate judges hearing an appeal review the record of what transpired during the civil trial.

What Does an Appellate Court Do?

The procedures followed by an appellate court establish the legal foundation for reviewing the decision issued by the judge hearing the original civil lawsuit. For both state and federal jurisdictions, the result of an appeal is considered the final judgment of a civil case unless the appellate court committed a basic judicial error or violated the United States Constitution.

Legal issues surrounding an appeal involve the legal briefs written by the attorneys representing each party. The legal briefs list several questions, as well as present the legal arguments in support of the positions taken by the plaintiff and the defendant. As the plaintiff in an appeal of a lower court’s decision, your appellate attorney files an appeal with a court that is part of the same judicial system in which the initial civil lawsuit received consideration.

Appellate courts follow one of two standards when reviewing what transpired during a civil trial. The abuse of discretion standard requires an appellate court to reverse the decision made by a civil judge only if, in light of the applicable law and considering all the relevant circumstances, the trial court’s decision exceeds the bounds of reason and results in a miscarriage of justice. An appellate court also can discover an abuse of discretion when the civil trial judge issued a decision on a mistaken finding of fact.

If an appellate court applies the “de novo” standard, the appellate court does not defer to the decision issued by the civil trial judge. The appellate court determines the appropriate ruling to issue and applies the ruling as part of the appeal decision. Appellate courts typically follow the De Novo standard when determining issues of law.  Of the two standards, the De Novo standard is considered the best way to appeal a civil verdict because it’s a “brand-new” look at the case.

What Are the Costs Associated with an Appeal?

The cost of an appeal depends on several factors such as the amount of time to review the underlying trial materials, obtaining a trial transcript, the number of issues to appeal from, whether the issues are novel or complex, and the attorney’s time to prepare the appeal and attend oral argument. Ask your appellant lawyer during the case evaluation for a cost estimate for filing an appeal.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Appellate Attorney

If you need assistance, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

What Are The 3 Possible Outcomes of An Appeals Court Decision - Alves RadCliffe

What Are The 3 Possible Outcomes of an Appeals Court Decision?

An appeal does not represent another trial that introduces additional evidence in front of a different judge. The appeal process typically focuses on disputed issues of law. A panel of appellate judges can affirm the original decision, which means the decision issued by the original judge or verdict issued by the jury stands as the final judgment. Appellate judges can reverse the decision or verdict. Finally, an appellate court may modify the trial court’s decision and send the case back to the trial court to be re-tried in conformance with the appellate judges instructions on an issue. 

Either party involved in a civil dispute can file an appeal based on one or more issues of law. However, the party filing an appeal must have a valid legal reason for an appeal, such as discovering an alleged material error during the original trial.

How Do I Know If I Can File an Appeal?

You have to meet certain requirements to be eligible to file an appeal.  Your attorney must prove a procedural, evidential, or legal application error. The error must have influenced the outcome of the civil trial.  Moreover, your attorney had to object to the error for it to become preserved in the trial court for future reference. An appellate attorney will review the case to determine whether an error negatively impacted the decision made by the judge or jury hearing your case.

The party that appeals the original decision issued by a judge or jury based on an issue of law is called the Appellant and the other party is called the Respondent. Appeals start with the filing of a notice of appeal, which initiates the period an appellant has to file a brief. The Appellant files a written brief. The role of the brief is to address the facts and law that formed the trial court decision and then argue why the decision was incorrect and ultimately requires a different outcome. In response, the Respondent’s attorney can file a Cross-Appeal raising its own issues to appeal from the trial court’s decision and may address the issues put in dispute by the Appellant’s lawyer. 

An appeal can have three possible outcomes.

Confirm the Original Decision

If the appellate court confirms the original decision issued by a civil court judge, the original decision stands. The appellate court affirms the decision issued by the trial court judge.

Reverse the Original Decision

If the appellate court discovers one or more errors that impacted the outcome of the civil trial, the appellate court has the authority to reverse the original decision. 

Modify the Decision and Send the Case Back to the Trial Court

In addition to reversing a civil trial decision, the appellate court also can modify the trial court’s decision and send the case back to the trial court to be re-tried in conformance with the appellate court’s decision. The appellant then may go back to the trial court and re-try the limited issues modified on appeal to try and obtain a different outcome. 

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Appellate Attorney

If you need assistance with an appeal, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

How to Handle Bad Swimming Pool Construction - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

How to Handle Swimming Pool Construction Defects

You thought about building a swimming pool in your backyard for years. The home improvement project adds another amenity to your property, which increases the value of your home. You get to spend countless afternoons relaxing under the warmth of the sun, as well as invite friends and family members over for a day of outdoor fun. The only thing standing in your way of realizing your dream is swimming pool construction defects.

If you are embroiled in a dispute with a swimming pool contractor over the design and construction of a swimming pool, work with an experienced construction attorney who specializes in pool construction defects to ensure you receive every legal protection granted by law. Working with a construction lawyer also educates you on how to handle bad swimming pool construction.

Pool Defects 

Not all defects are readily apparent to the untrained eye and not every blemish amounts to a defect. Common problems with pools include structural cracking in the pool shell, pool engineering problems, cracked coping and tile, lack of sufficient gunite, improperly placed reinforcing bar (“rebar”), and improperly compacted soils. Oftentimes pools are placed on hillsides and require special engineering that may not be adequate to support the weight of the pool. As a starting point, if you are experiencing cracking in your pool and suspect something is wrong, check to see if your auto fill is running continuously or whether your water bills are abnormally high. A construction attorney specializing in pools should be consulted to determine whether the defect is significant and causing damages. 

Follow the Contract

The contract you signed with the contractor includes all the details that are associated with the swimming pool project. The contract should be in writing, reasonably detail the scope of work, and provide for a schedule of payments. When the project starts to move away from the standards established in the contract, refer the contractor to the contract to reinforce your position. For example, if the contract states the contractor is responsible for defects, refer the contractor to the contract to enforce that legal provision. Before you sign any type of contract that is covered by business and commercial law, you should have a construction attorney review it to ensure it includes every legal protection you need.

Leave a Digital Trail

One of the most frequent issues that arise between homeowners and contractors concerns miscommunication. Contractors often get deeply involved with a construction project such as a swimming pool, which can lead to a lack of communication with a homeowner. Although you should establish the standard for responsive communication before the start of a construction project, you can jump-start your interactions by encouraging short daily emails that keep you updated about the status of the swimming pool. Text messages are discouraged because it makes for a more difficult paper trail later to piece together the evidence. 

Adapt to Changes

Sometimes, a bad swimming pool construction project does not involve the design or construction of the swimming pool. A construction dispute can be about not  defects. If your swimming pool project has fallen behind schedule for a legitimate reason and you and the contractor agree to change the timeline, make sure to get it in writing and signed by you and the contractor first. 

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alves RadCliffe - construction attorney - 10 Signs That a Contractor is Negligent

10 Signs That a Contractor is Negligent

You have invested a significant amount of time and money into a construction project, which means you expect the general contractor you hire to manage the project to complete the project on time and under budget. However, some construction projects fail to meet the standards established by the industry. With the help of an experienced construction attorney, you should learn about the 10 signs that demonstrate that a contractor is negligent.

Substandard Work

The most common sign a contractor is negligent concerns defective, shoddy, and substandard work. The quality of the work completed on your construction project must meet the standards written into the construction contract. If you fail to detail in the construction contract the quality of work that you expect, it will be difficult to prove the general contractor committed one or more acts of negligence.

Inferior Equipment

One look at the equipment used by a general contractor and the team of independent contractors should tell the story about the competency of the crew responsible for completing your project. Failing to use construction equipment that is in mint condition increases the risk of an accident happening onsite. 

Reckless Behavior

A construction site is not a place for workers to engage in reckless behavior, which includes operating machinery carelessly and violating standard safety protocols. You should immediately report any behavior to the project manager that violates construction or real estate law.

Lack of Permits

Before the first step of the construction project is underway, property owners must verify every contractor onsite has obtained the required state and federal permits. The lack of possessing the legally required permits represents a red flag that helps you determine whether you need the legal support of a construction attorney.

Cost Overruns

When you hire a general contractor, you expect to receive regularly submitted financial reports that describe the financial status of your construction projects. Any report that shows a project running over budget is a sign of negligence on the part of the general contractor in charge of the project.

Defective Protective Gear

Every worker on your construction project must wear the right protective gear to prevent an onsite accident. Violations of the standards created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are a clear sign the contractor is negligent in managing your construction project.

Visible Defects

From leaky pipes that discharge water to cracks in a structure, you should be able to detect basic defects of a construction project. Hiring a construction attorney during your construction project can help you notice defects.

Not Enough Warning Signs

The general contractor running your construction project cannot prevent every hazard from becoming a safety issue. However, placing warning signs in the right locations reduces the likelihood of an onsite accident costing you both time and money.

Visits from Government Inspectors

A contractor that deals with unannounced government inspections might be a contractor that has a record of violating safety standards. If not addressed, this warning sign can eventually lead to the end of your construction project.

Covering Up Mistakes

Accidents happen on construction sites, and when one happens during your construction project, how the general contractor responds can tell you whether the general contractor should be held legally accountable for the circumstances that led to the accident.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

How Property Owners Can Protect Themselves Against Mechanic's Liens - construction attorney - Alves RadCliffe

How Property Owners Can Protect Themselves Against Mechanic’s Liens

You meticulously planned every step of a home improvement project. Working with a general contractor has reduced your responsibilities because the team of project managers from the general contractor handles the recruitment of trade professionals, as well as schedules daily tasks. However, there might be one step you should add to your home improvement project.

You should speak with a construction attorney to help you avoid costly mechanic’s liens.

A mechanic’s lien gives trade professionals a tool to protect themselves from property owners that refuse to pay for specialized services and the time put into a project. Most of the steps that help you avoid a mechanic’s lien have one thing in common.

Communication.

Let’s look at some basic principles that can help you avoid a mechanic’s lien.

Prequalification Process

One of the basics of a construction lien is for the general contractor to get paid what the company deserves. You can avoid the hassle of a mechanic’s lien by putting the general contractor through a prequalification process. Determine how the general contractor handled past payment practices before agreeing to a payment plan. You also need to know how a general contractor handles a missed payment.

Preliminary Notice

What frustrates a property owner more than just about anything concerning a construction project is unexpectedly receiving a mechanic’s lien. You avoid this issue by requiring the general contractor to ask for preliminary notices from every supplier and independent contractor. A preliminary notice provides you with the names of each trade professional, as well as what you owe each trade professional.

Asking for preliminary notices is one of the most important principles of real estate law.

Joint Checks

Issuing joint checks represents an effective strategy to avoid a mechanic’s lien, as well as prevent a contractor from receiving two payments during the same pay period. Issuing a joint check requires all parties to endorse the check before a financial institution releases the funds. If a trade professional and the trade professional’s supplier receive a joint check, the supplier must endorse the check before the trade professional can cash it.

Payment Bond

Taking out a payment bond removes the legal liability from your property to address a compensation issue. A payment bond transfers the inherent risk of receiving a mechanic’s lien to the issuer of the payment bond. If the general contractor, primary supplier, and independent contractor do not get paid by the payment deadline, each party has the right to make a claim against the payment bond.

Make Full Payments Before Every Deadline

One of the most important pieces of advice given by a construction attorney to a client does not involve legal jargon. You can avoid receiving a mechanic’s lien if you issue full payments on time, every time. Issuing full, timely payments is the most effective way to avoid a mechanic’s lien.

Alves Radcliffe, LLP — Construction Attorney

If you need assistance with an indemnity clause in your construction contract, call Alves Radcliffe, LLP at 916-333-3375 or send us an email. We have over 25 years of combined experience, and serve clients throughout Greater Sacramento, Northern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area.