Changes vs. Cardinal Changes: The Limit of Construction Contract Changes


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?

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Punitive Damages Claims in New York Construction Contract Disputes

One topic that came up in my practice recently was a contractor’s potential exposure to liability for punitive damages under New York law. As the name suggests, punitive damages are awarded above and beyond their contract or property damages, ‘where the wrong done was aggravated by circumstances of violence, oppression, malice, fraud, … on the part of the defendant, and are intended to address the plaintiff’s mental anguish or other aggravation, to punish the defendant for its behavior.’ Black’s Law Dictionary 390 (6th Ed. 1991).

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5 Reasons to Consider Arbitration for Your Construction Dispute

 

In a recent client conference, I was asked, “So what is arbitration, anyhow?” In the context of a construction claim or in seeking to prevent such a claim, there are several significant advantages that arbitration can provide in lieu of litigation. In today’s challenging business environment, this signifies awareness of the various options available that could make an important impact on your business’ circumstance.

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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”

Subcontractor’s Arbitration Action Stayed by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, New York County, recently clarified the impact of contractual language specifying litigation as the forum for resolution in the subcontract, and impact of New York’s Prompt Payment, providing for arbitration of disputes where it applies.

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Appellate Court Upholds Contractor Indemnification

Indemnification is an important legal concept which impacts nearly all construction contracts. It has several forms and types, but generally amounts to a contract requirement where one party party agrees to restore the other party from any losses. Where an anticipated loss should occur, the damaged party can expect reimbursement for the loss.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution An Option For Construction Contractors Under NY’S Prompt Payment Act

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.

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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

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.

Do you know how these documents rate in terms of their authority? Continue reading “Construction Contract Document Conflict”