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Avoiding Legal Pitfalls as a General Contractor


Running a project as a general contractor is usually a large undertaking.  It is also a huge legal undertaking that requires significant knowledge to avoid legal pitfalls.  Contractors should not risk the possible legal pitfalls that come along with overseeing and providing servicing on a construction project.

Seek Legal Review All Contracts

Not all contracts are made the same.  This is especially the case when there are changes made to the parties, work and other contractual details. These are two main things to look for when reviewing a construction contract: timeline and scope. The timing requirement is chiefly important because it sets expectations for both sides.  Each side, in agreeing to a specific timeline, can determine whether they are able to deliver the services as expected. The management of expectation is not the only function in paying close attention to the time.  It also aids in coordinating the workers.  The scope of services is just as important as the time and they go hand in hand.  Pinning down an accurate scope alleviates uncertainty about the contractor’s responsibility.  It also permits a more accurate timeline and reduces the possibility of a legal dispute.

Implement Strict Safety Standards

General contractors should implement strict OSHA safety standards on their worksite. The contractor will lessen the possibility of legal liability with adherence to strict standards.  OSHA standards are clearly drawn out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which also enforces and administers those standards. Violators are subject to hefty penalties for noncompliance.  Legal liability is not the only consequences of noncompliance. Contractors can also be subject to indemnification liabilities from their insurance provider. With the help of an attorney well-versed in OSHA regulations, a contractor can implement a robust safety program.

Familiarize Yourself with Florida’s Lien Law

General contractors should be knowledgeable of Florida’s lien law. All mechanic’s liens claimants must file a notice to the owners of the property. Florida lien law provides certain deadlines for making this notice depending on the claimant’s role in the construction.  All claimants must provide notice to the owner no later than 90 days from the last day labor or supplies were delivered. In turn, within 10 days of the request, a general contractor must furnish a list of all subcontractors and suppliers who worked on the project.  Failure to furnish a list of subs and suppliers will result in possible legal penalties and forfeiture of a challenge to the lien. Missing the deadline to file a mechanic’s lien is also detrimental to one’s claim. This is because the lien method is a faster way of asserting some kind of obligation against a contractor or owner.

Let Us Help You Today

Hiring an attorney for your construction project ensures that you have a legal advantage.  If a dispute arises, a knowledgeable attorney can guide you through your options and keep you informed about any legal pitfalls. Brendan A. Sweeney is an experienced Fort Lauderdale construction attorney with years of experience advising professionals in the construction industry.  Contact us for a consultation.




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