1. When Do I Need a Contract?

    Every construction project needs a contract. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia require a written contract on all residential jobs: AR, AZ, CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, ND, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV and WY. Twelve […]
  2. Traps for Construction Managers

    Many experienced construction pros prefer working as construction managers rather than construction contractors. And for good reason. Compared to conventional construction contracting, construction management contracting offers major advantages: far less risk, very little working capital needed, no employees, no inventory, no payables, no warranties or callbacks, no investment, no liens. And it’s perfectly legal. Better […]

  3. Wage Theft in New York

    New York construction contractors get a new headache on January 4, 2022. New code sections make prime contractors liable if subs don’t pay their employees or independent contractors. Hold your breath and think about that for a second. Suppose you’ve paid your subs on a project and have a full book of lien releases. Then, […]

  4. Awarding Damages in Florida

    Mike Judet’s South Florida home was severely damaged by lightning in 2016. He accepted an offer from Cano, Inc. of West Palm Beach to make the repairs. The contract price was $300,000, payable in $30,000 installments. Cano started work. Judet made the first three payments, $90,000. Then Judet discovered a problem. Cano hadn’t bothered to […]

  5. Mistakes in the Plans

    I’m old enough to remember when plans were drawn by hand. A designer who wanted a particular detail had to physically draw that detail line by line, considering each line as it was drawn. That’s not what happens today. A designer who wants a specific detail simply finds that detail in some old plan set. […]

  6. Home Improvement California Style

    Anna-Becky Redlich needed some work done on the bedroom, sitting room, closet and bathroom of her Hillsborough, California home. Nothing structural. The only changes would be cosmetic. Reliance Management Group offered to do the work on a cost-plus basis. The estimated initial contract price was $250,000. The down payment would be $1,000 plus a “retainer” […]

  7. Three-day Notice in Virginia

    The HVAC system in Elise Theyer’s historic Norfolk, Virginia home needed an update. Elise saw an ad for ductless mini split systems and called Norfolk Air Heating and Cooling to get a bid. Norfolk Air made a sales call. They quoted a ducted system on the first floor and six mini-splits on the second floor. […]

  8. Indiana Insurance Contract

    A severe spring storm damaged the home of Jason Jenkins in Boone County, Indiana. On June 11, 2017, Jenkins agreed to have Mcgraw Property Solutions make repairs. Mcgraw promised to complete all storm remediation work for the price approved by Jenkins’ insurer. The contract provided that “[i]f the insurance company does not approve your claim, this […]

  9. Bailing Out of a Bad Contract

    Most of what you read here is about drafting good contracts, not about bailing out of bad deals. But bad deals happen – such as to a Florida contractor I advised last week. “How do I get out of this contract?” I’ll count the ways. First, understand the measure of damages, what you stand to […]

  10. Subs or Gig Workers?

    Every contractor understands the advantage of using independent contractors rather than hiring employees: No FICA or FUTA, no workers’ comp, no sick leave, no overtime. Using gig workers cuts at least 30% off labor costs. Great choice! But you probably detect problems lurking here. I’ll explain by offering a little history. Statutory Employees A hundred […]

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