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  1. Storm Damage Repair in Thirteen States

      This isn’t about what happened on October 29. It’s about another storm, the rising tide of states that regulate contracts for repair of storm damage. A little more than a year ago, no state had special rules for insurance repair contracts. Now there are thirteen (by date enacted): Continue reading →
  2. Construction Contractor or Consultant?

      Change is inevitable, even in the construction industry. One of those changes is construction consulting, sometimes called CM (construction management) consulting – or CM for short.   Continue reading →
  3. Employee or Subcontractor?

      Every contractor understands the advantage of getting work done with subs rather than employees. Employees come with headaches like payroll taxes (F.I.C.A., F.U.T.A., S.U.I), employee insurance, fringe benefits and overtime. Collectively, those add about one-third to labor cost. With subcontractors, you simply write a check payable to the sub. No withholding tax. No fringe benefits. No overtime. Continue reading →
  4. Time and Material Construction Contracts

      Many contractors prefer time and material (cost-plus) contracts. And for good reason. With T&M;, you’re sure to recover expenses and earn a profit. There’s no dispute about the cost of changes. Work can start before design is complete. The job gets done just the way the owner wants – and at the owner’s expense. What could be better? Continue reading →
  5. Construction Contract Law Gibberish

      The law in most states puts residential contractors at a disadvantage. Omit a required notice or disclosure and your contract is probably unenforceable (at best) and could earn you a fine (or worse). That’s called consumer protection law. No use complaining. It’s not going away. Continue reading →
  6. Waiving the 3-Day Right to Cancel

      Every residential contractor knows about an owner's 3-day right to cancel, sometimes called the Reg Z notice. Any time you do work on the principal residence of an owner (whether new construction, improvement or repair) you have to: Continue reading →
  7. Changes in Construction Contract Law

      Most state legislatures make their changes to the law effective on either January 1 or July 1 of each year. Here’s a state-by-state summary of major changes to construction contract law taking effect on July 1, 2012: Continue reading →
  8. Living with Pennsylvania's HICPA

      My March2009 blog suggested that Pennsylvania's Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA) didn’t have to be a deal breaker for residential contractors in PA. The law (effective July 1, 2009) was written to tip the playing field in favor of owners when negotiating for home improvement work. But the legislature in Harrisburg didn’t think of everything. There are still good ways for contractors to protect themselves. The March 2009 blog lists seven good ways to cut your risk on Pennsylvania home improvement jobs. Continue reading →
  9. If you’ve been a contractor for a while . . .

      You know about headaches that come with any project – risk of loss, regulation, code compliance, employees, warranty claims, liens, and – always – the need for more capital. Continue reading →
  10. Illegal Construction Contracts

      All states set standards for construction contracts. The notices and disclosures required by state law vary with the size of the job, type of work, materials used, who signs the agreement and even where the contract is signed. To see what’s required where you do business, go to Construction-Contract.net and click on your state. Continue reading →

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