We have all heard the expression, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” But, how do we really know when we are being fooled? Though Construction Fraud was not listed in Investopedia’s Most Common Types of Consumer Fraud article, Construction Fraud is more common than you would think. Normally, when one thinks about the term “fraud”, you think of your credit card being compromised, but did you ever think of Construction Fraud, and ways you can prevent it?
What does Long Island construction law say about terminating construction agreements? Despite the increasingly common use of arbitration in construction agreements, the New York Supreme Court has clarified that owners cannot terminate their construction agreement and fail to follow requirements for termination without repercussions. A recent pre-arbitration victory by John Caravella, Esq. confirms that the court unwilling to waive terms contained for termination and remedial efforts post termination to cure will not suffice to transform a wrongful termination into a termination for cause.
Like the strings of a marionette puppet, after the completion of a New York construction project, there are various legal theories that serve as ties between the builder and the owner. For the builder, the sooner these lingering ties can be removed the less exposure they face for claims of defects. For the owners, the longer they are able to establish these connections, the longer they may have legal recourse against the builder for defects.
What do you need a building permit for? This is one of the most common questions regarding construction. Building permits are both important and necessary and the failure to obtain one can cause major obstacles down the road. Building permits are needed whenever a homeowner is altering or expanding their current home, installing a swimming pool, deck, shed or more. Building permits are more important than you think, and here’s why!
Everybody loves an exciting renovation project. Whether it’s finishing floors, replacing drywall, or even as simple as painting the walls. When it comes to such projects, there will be debris left behind. Construction waste is any “trash” on a job site from leftover materials. Some of these materials could contain harmful chemicals such as lead, mercury, asbestos and even live wires and sharp, dangerous objects. Discarding and eliminating leftover construction waste properly is extremely important for your safety, and even the surrounding environment. Construction waste comes in many different forms. The most common forms are listed below.
As of 2016, there have been over 1.3 million solar panels installed on over 6,560,000 households in the United States. Arizona is the largest state utilizing residential solar energy. If solar energy seems to be so popular, why aren’t we all contributing to the environment? Just like any other construction job, solar panels and their installs have both pros and cons. These pros and cons can stretch from high costs to home damages, to even insurance premium increases. Whether you are a veteran homeowner or a first time home owner, is it really worth it to utilize residential solar energy?
Listed below are the top four pros of applying solar panels to your home.
- Reduces electric bills: The average American saves around $100 – $120 a month while using solar energy.
- Increase the value of your home: Whether solar panels on your home have been purchased or leased, having solar energy can increase the value from $18,000 – $29,000.
- A beautiful future: Residential Solar Energy helps improve the environment and reduce carbon emissions.
- Tax and State Credits: Depending on where you live in the United States, you could easily receive a federal tax credit of 30% and a state tax credit of 25%. For New York State, your state credit would be 25%.
Often times in discussions with contractors, I hear many of the same types of issues repeat themselves, and from the perspective of counsel, quite preventable. While not every potential problem on a project can be determined upfront, keeping the following 5 tips for contractors in mind might be helpful in preventing problems, improving business practices, and effectively managing risks.
- Be proactive throughout the project. You know that your work is good, and you expect your project owner to be pleased, but some owners may be difficult or unreasonable to please. Sometimes complaints as to work in the trailing end of a project can also be made as a pretext to avoid making full payment. For that reason, don’t wait for problems to arise. You should document the quality, completeness, and progression of your work as you are working on the project. I have seen projects where contractors were no longer allowed access to the project, and obtaining access to document completeness of work can be difficult once a problem arises.
At a minimum, you should be photographing conditions of all areas of the site within the scope of your work to show (1) existing conditions at the time you begin work, (2) inspection phases, (3) substantial completion, and (4) final completion.
One of the most common causes of home elevation is extreme weathering and flooding. In general, there are two options when deciding to elevate your home. The homeowner can physically lift the home, building a new foundation at the bottom, or leaving the home as is, but just building a “livable space” upper level, alternatively converting the ground level to a complete closure.
Despite much construction litigation, New York courts who govern Long Island construction law are agreed that an unlicensed home improvement contractor cannot recover against consumers. That has not, however, stopped unlicensed contractors from arguing exceptions to that rule. A recent court victory by John Caravella, Esq. confirms that courts remain unwilling to accept excuses from unlicensed contractors.
In Orefice v. Guma Development, homeowners sued an unlicensed contractor for defective construction. Notably, the local municipal code requires that any person doing business as a contractor be licensed by the municipality. A corporation does not require its own license if a licensed contractor is employed by the firm as a supervisor.
Given the large number and variety of documents required to administer a construction project today (plans, specifications, contracts, etc.), the likelihood of discrepancies arising between these different sources is almost unavoidable.
Do you know how these documents rate in terms of their authority? Continue reading “Construction Contract Document Conflict”