What is Construction law?
It is an array of law, rules, and regulations that govern the planning, design, and construction of commercial buildings and commercial structures. It’s a complicated landscape that will vary in nature under local, state, or federal laws. Many attorneys work in all of these areas of construction while some specialize in just one or two.
At the national level, workplace safety and employment laws kick in as do hiring rules and onsite requirements. Down on the state level, there is an array of safety, employment, and environmental regulations that vary state to state. The even more granular at the county level are zoning ordinances and restrictions on noise.
Because of wide scope of construction law and regulations, federal and state governments have a range of laws that govern over many construction issues. One of the most widely recognized is building codes, which set forth the requirements and standards for construction developers in all 50 states.
Building codes ensure safety by making sure tradespeople install plumbing, electrical, and other fittings by code to remain consistent across the board. If a building contractor follows building code strictly, chances that a catastrophic collapse or other major failure won’t happen. Construction attorneys will advise their contractor clients on how to follow these codes, or they defend their client if they are accused of endangering civilians by failing to build by the code regulations.
Another form of construction law is contract law. Example, when builders or construction employees perform their work, and their employer fails to pay them, they can seek payment through liens on the employer. Liens often quickly force the developer to pay the workers’ rightful wages.
A construction lawyer, what do they do?
Construction lawyers provide legal advice and representation in cases specifically regarding buildings or construction projects. They may offer guidance to organizations at different levels of the contracting chain. They may also serve include property owners, developers, tenants, project managers, trade contractors, suppliers, or construction consultants. Construction Lawyers like Brian Zinn at ZinnLaw have expert knowledge on construction contracts and can advise any party to a construction agreement on issues such as delays, variations, and defects.
Some construction lawyers will represent their construction clients in court, filing pleadings on their behalf, answer questions, and respond to complaints or claims against them. Construction lawyers also write responses to interrogatories and requests for documents. Attorneys may also look over documents such as contracts, floor plan designs, property inspection reports, and project blueprints and use them as evidence in a courtroom while prosecuting a case or defending a client.
But there is more. Lawyers in this field also handle larger issues in terms of wrongful death claims or work place injuries. Such claims may require them to file compensation or civil suits on behalf of their construction clients. Often, they work with the worker’s insurer and will then represent the workers when evaluating for damages or liability. If the lawyer cannot reach an pre-court settlement with the accused employer, he will have to then seek legal redress by taking the employer to court.
In addition to litigating on behalf of their clients, lawyers offer legal advice regarding general issues, property line disagreements, project bids, and other construction issues. Corporations may hire a local construction law attorney when they need help drafting specific legal documents such as a purchase agreement or a liquidation agreement.