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.
Image: (J. Scott Applewhite/AP) 2019.
Many contractors and subcontractors go about their work feeling protected from claims for damages because their agreements contain certain exclusions. Some of these agreements will even have language stating ‘Not responsible for [X, Y, and Z]’. But the ruling handed down February 14, 2012, by the Supreme Court, Nassau County serves as a reminder that contractual indemnity provisions are more of a privilege than a right, and are not subject to enforcement automatically.
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”
Construction contracts in New York often place the architect or engineer in the additional role of an initial impartial decider as to any disagreement or disputes between the contractor and the owner, in addition to their roles as the design professionals.
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, should that be necessary.
When it comes to subcontractor agreements, there are numerous types of agreements that might be used and the fine print in these agreements can be crucial. Some documents, such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 401 and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Form 640 serve as standard forms of agreement.
Oftentimes, owners find themselves wondering if they need an architect of design professional for their project, and might be unfamiliar with the terms and forms used in their contracts. This article provides a refresher on the types of projects an owner should have an architect for, and the typical forms of contracts used for the project.
Recently, a contractor asked me how to create a good contract. After further discussion, I understood that this contractor was not licensed, but wanted advice on obtaining a good contract. Well, what is a good contract after all?
Changes are an unavoidable aspect of construction. Although thorough effort and coordination are required in preparing the original project contract, specifications and construction drawings, there will still be changes. This is why owners are provided the right to make changes to the work under a typical contract changes clause.
However, the ability for owner requested changes, even if provided in the contract, are not without limitations, restrictions, and consequences. After all, what purpose would any of the project documents, contracts and drawings serve if they were subject to constant change? What good would the contract serve if the owner could make any change(s) without consequence?
Much construction litigation arises from disputes over Scaffold Law liability. Simply, the Scaffold Law makes certain contractors and project owners liable for injuries to workers on construction sites. The Scaffold Law has been criticized for the burdens it imposes on contractors and owners and for allowing workers to collect even if they have ignored safety rules.