Architects in New York can be found liable for damages in various situations, depending on who claims damage, and the basis of the claim itself. For example, where an owner has a direct contract with the architect, the owner could bring forth a simple claim based on the contract or a claim based on a tort action. Such a tort action, based on negligence, is a claim for malpractice.
Contractors and subcontractors frequently consult with their attorneys in the negotiation of construction contracts before they are signed, but counsel’s involvement generally ends at that point until and unless litigation arises down the road. Nevertheless, additional consultation with attorneys after execution of contracts can ensure that contractors and subcontractors meet their respective obligations and may confer savings that far offset the costs.
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?
Construction is fraught with countless risks, from weather conditions, labor strikes, material unavailability, subsurface conditions, and inaccurate plans and specifications, among others. Each has the potential to delay the project, cause increased completion costs, and increase the likelihood of disputes, liens, and litigation.
Are contractors responsible for the impacts of their work on neighboring residents? Oftentimes, they are. This is especially true in densely populated urban areas where literally hundreds of people could be affected by a project only fifty feet away. Some of the principles in these cases are outlined below.
Perhaps the most common construction-related dispute is the refusal of a party to make payment to its contractors or subcontractors. While litigation is the traditional avenue for resolving such disputes, methods of alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration and mediation are enjoying growing importance in the field of construction law.
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.
Few topics in construction law are more controversial than Labor Law Section 240, better known as the Scaffold Law, which imposes absolute liability on contractors, property owners, and their agents for elevation-related injuries to construction workers. The number of Scaffold Law cases has increased by 500% since 1990.
To minimize potential legal problems when planning construction, whether the project is a large commercial project, a new residence, or even a renovation to an existing structure, care must be taken to have essential terms included in the contract. The failure to identify essential terms in the construction contract will lead to project confusion, extended completion time and expenses, as well as raise the likelihood of a future legal dispute. Below are several terms to consider in any construction contract:
For New York Architects, Landscape Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors, exposure to liability on their completed projects may extend long beyond the completion of the project itself. Exactly how long design professionals can be ‘on the hook’ for claims has been a bit of a moving target in New York, with changes and proposed additional changes to this timeframe.