All business owners should have a working understanding of the laws that they must obey to properly run their business. Some, like workers compensation law and employment law, apply to people in any field. Those working in the construction industry, however, face unique legal challenges each day. In addition to the usual legal considerations, they must also understand planning and approvals and property law, among other regulations. The combination of construction and general business law constitutes construction law, and understanding this area of the law can help you more effectively operate as a business owner or employee. While the following overview can help you get acquainted with construction law, be sure to speak to an experienced construction attorney to discuss your specific legal situations.
Contract law pertains to the way in which the legal responsibilities and obligations each party has to each other are recorded. The easiest way to outline this information is in a contract, which construction companies and their clients will both review and sign prior to the beginning of work. In a construction setting, the contract will explain the way in which payment will be made, the duration of the project, and any other specifications, such as the materials to be used. An attorney can help you understand contracts and negotiate for better terms if necessary.
Planning and Approvals
Before beginning a project, the work must be approved by local authorities. They will consider the zoning laws of the proposed area, conduct any necessary inspections, and issue a building permit that allows the work to take place. With the help of an attorney who understands the requirements that must be met before a permit can be issued, construction companies can develop a strong proposal that addresses any legal issues in advance. This can help your project begin more quickly and decrease your chances of being denied a permit.
Employment law applies to all forms of business, and construction is no exception. Employers should be aware of the limitations regarding scheduling, hiring, and overtime pay, among other topics, and employees should be aware of what they can do if they feel they have been discriminated against or otherwise unfairly treated while on the job. An attorney familiar with both employment law and the construction industry can assist both employers and employees in understanding their rights and responsibilities and taking action to rectify illegal situations if necessary.
Construction can be a dangerous job, and employers must have workers compensation insurance on hand in case of an injury. An attorney can help firms select the right coverage for their needs and handle any workers compensation disputes that may occur. Employees are typically entitled to lost wages, medical expenses, disability payments, rehabilitation costs, and retraining costs, but speak with an attorney to determine the needs of each individual employee. Laws may vary by state.
Property law governs the ownership of land and buildings and allows companies to purchase and manage properties according to the regulations of each city, town, and state. An attorney specializing in this form of law can assist with disputes regarding ownership, liens, zoning, and other areas of property law. They can also review deeds and other legal documents to ensure that companies are getting a good deal on the property they are purchasing and that the property is as described in all documentation. In the event that your firm is misled or otherwise unsatisfied with the purchase of a new property, a construction law attorney may be able to assist you in bringing the case to trial or otherwise addressing the issue with the seller.
Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself in the midst of a legal dispute or court case. Construction law attorneys can assist in resolving these issues in several ways. They may be able to simply address the concern with the involved parties and negotiate a solution. If more formal action is required, an attorney can represent your construction firm in a mediation, in which a trained mediator will help resolve the issue outside of court, or in a trial, which may be more expensive but can be necessary in severe situations. An experienced construction law attorney can suggest a course of action for your case based on your specific needs or the particular details of the case.
Working with a Construction Law Attorney
Speak to the construction law attorneys at OFP Law for more information about your legal options in the construction industry. The firm’s experienced attorneys have a deep understanding of business law and how it applies to the construction industry, giving them the knowledge they need to help you and your construction company in any legal situation. Call today to speak to an attorney at OFP Law about your case and determine the proper course of action.