Blending of Public and Private Construction – Proceed With Caution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditionally, New York Construction Law sets separate rules of engagement for public projects (where the owner is a public entity) and those that are private construction projects (where the owner is a private individual or corporation). Given these two distinct camps, it has been easy to classify a project as either a public project or a private one. For contractors, subcontractors and suppliers, knowing which rules of engagement pertain to them is essential to avoid making costly mistakes.

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NY Supreme Court Strikes Contractor Liability Limitation Provision

                                  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.

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Construction Contract Document Conflict

 

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.

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Protections Provided to New York Architects and Contractors under the Economic Loss Rule

THE ECONOMIC LOSS RULE IN NEW YORK CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS:

WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT MAY BENEFIT CONTRACTORS AND ARCHITECTS

The “economic loss rule” is a rule that New York courts use to prevent a plaintiff from recovering against a defendant for a tort (usually negligence), when the essence of the plaintiff’s claim is for failure to live up to the terms of a contract.

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Contractors in New York may not be bound by Architect Certifications

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.

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Violation of the New York Prompt Payment Act Does Not Bar Defenses

General Business Law Section 756 (and the sections that follow it), commonly known as the Prompt Payment Act, establish requirements for how soon a construction contractor or subcontractor must be paid and allow expedited arbitration in the event that prompt payment is not made for qualifying projects.

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The Top 5 Avenues of Architect Liability in New York

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.

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Construction Warranty vs. Statute of Limitations Between Builder and Owner

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.

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Essential Provisions for Subcontractor Agreements

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.

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5 Reasons that may Justify the Termination of your Construction Agreement

This is a general information article and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers are encouraged to seek counsel from a construction lawyer for advice on a particular circumstance.

When homeowners are ready to get the ball rolling with their new construction project, excitement and happy emotions usually take over when signing the construction agreement. With that said, however, there is an important relationship from start through final completion with your contractor, and significant issues could develop. When advising in breach of contract and contract termination cases, there are five examples all homeowners should look out for before pulling the trigger, that may justify your agreements termination. Continue reading “5 Reasons that may Justify the Termination of your Construction Agreement”