Everyone knows a lawyer is a person who practices law, one who (at the very least) provides legal counsel and representation to his or her clients. What you may not know is there are many different areas of law in which a lawyer can specialize, from family and civil law to municipal and real estate law. Additionally, there are specialized industries that call for specialized lawyers. Some of these include the entertainment, oil and gas, and healthcare industries, so it’s only fitting that there is an area of law practice devoted to the construction industry. If you’re unfamiliar with construction law, here are the basics.
Basics of Construction Law
Construction law encompasses all legal matters pertaining to the construction of buildings, infrastructure and other built structures. Legal matters can arise when federal, state, or local laws related to the construction process are infringed upon. Issues occurring on federal and state levels often deal with workplace safety, environmental, and employment laws. Issues on a local or municipal level oftentimes deal with an area’s ordinances governing issues such as zoning and noise at construction sites. Regardless of the level(s) on which they occur, some of the most common construction law issues include construction site injuries, construction flaws, breaches in contracts, and difficulties obtaining the proper permits.
What Do Construction Lawyers Do?
Most of a construction lawyer’s work takes place outside of the courtroom and includes transactional work (e.g., preparing contracts, loan documents, and/or warranties for builders, contractors, and shareholders). These lawyers also spend a lot of time helping their clients—investors, developers, contractors, engineers, architects, and other entities—negotiate and agree upon terms related to the construction process. However, what a construction attorney does largely depends on what category of construction law under which a particular issue at hand falls: non-contentious or contentious.
- Non-contentious – This category of construction law mainly deals with drafting contracts and other paperwork as well as ensuring the overall legality of the construction project prior to breaking ground.
- Contentious – This category of construction law refers to when something is amiss with the construction process (e.g., breach of contract terms; project is not progressing as planned and/or agreed upon). The contracts drafted during the initial stages of the procurement process will dictate how legal issues should be resolved. Oftentimes, to reduce time and costs, issues are resolved via adjudication.
Regardless of the size of the project, construction projects should be guided by lawyers who are highly experienced in all facets of construction law.
Need Assistance with a Construction Law Concern?
The construction process requires sound input and counsel from knowledgeable construction lawyers. If you have a construction project in the works, contact the attorneys at Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant for assistance with any and all construction law matters. Give us a call at (940) 387-3518, or contact us here. We’ll be happy to provide assistance in any way we can.