Construction & Building Management
The construction industry is dynamic, and that dynamism can give rise to disputes. Workers navigate active and ever-changing environments, abuzz with machinery and other workers in motion. Disputes arise over materials, products, trade sequencing, delays,and compliance with specifications. Complex contract and insurance risk-sharing agreements attempt to determine who will bear what risks. Demand and supply cycles create collection issues.
Counsel for injured construction workers often try to avoid the workers’ compensation bar to suits against their employers by suing manufacturers of construction-related products. These can include:
- Materials handling equipment
- Construction elevators
- Electrical equipment
- Gas lines
- Building controls
- Construction chemicals
- Solar arrays
- Roofing products
- HVAC systems
The Scaffold Law
In some venues, there is a statutory regime for construction injuries, For instance, New York Labor Law section 240, also known as the “Scaffold Law,” requires an owner, contractor, or agent provide “adequate workplace safety measures” to protect workers who work at an elevation. Section 240 imposes liability regardless of control, supervision, or direction of the work.
After the construction of a structure, the builder or owner remains liable to subsequent purchasers for construction defects after the structure is completed.
Developers often face lawsuits regarding environmental issues such as mold, use of toxic materials, disturbing or releasing preexisting toxins such as lead, PCB’s or asbestos, or improper ventilation.
Before they begin a project, developers finalize a contract with a buyer. Often, these contracts contain gray areas that become litigation points. For instance, a developer insists on a clause that allows material changes to be made to the structure if circumstances require such changes. In the event of a dispute, the two sides debate what constitutes a material change and what constitutes a circumstance that requires such a change.
Insurance and Risk Transfer
Similarly, risk transfers and insurance are significant parts of a construction project. Developers may want or be mandated to purchase construction insurance and surety bonds.
Creditor’s rights are a common issue in the volatile construction business. Projects are designed and built to serve markets that may shift before completion. When the end payments for the completed project are slowed, diminished or fail to materialize, the developer, financiers, contractors and suppliers may need to protect and pursue their collection rights.
If you’re involved in the construction business, partner with a law firm that understands your business. Speak with the lawyers at the firm of Littleton Park Joyce Ughetta & Kelly LLP.