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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a construction lawyer?

A construction lawyer is a legal professional who specialises and practices relating to the construction industry. Construction lawyers have the primary focus of providing legal guidance and representation to various stakeholders involved in construction projects. These stakeholders may include contractors, subcontractors, developments, architects, engineers, suppliers and governmental bodies. Construction lawyers have a deep understanding of construction law that commercial lawyers may not, meaning that they can be involved in projects before, during and after they have commenced. Construction lawyers have expertise in areas such as contract negotiation, project procurement and compliance with zoning, environmental and land usage. Construction lawyers assist in navigating the realm of laws and regulations governing the construction industry.

Construction lawyers have a large role in dispute resolution, whether this is conducted through negotiation, mediation, arbitration or litigation. Construction lawyers advocate for the rights of their clients’ and interests in regards to construction management and projects. In response to the heavy regulations and zoning imposed on construction, construction lawyers are vital to ensuring that the needs of their clients are met whilst concurrently being legally compliance.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a construction lawyer?

Construction lawyers have various roles and responsibilities. In response to the construction industry constantly evolving with environmental regulations, the roles and responsibilities of construction lawyers are highly relevant in today’s heavily construction oriented environment.

Construction lawyers have the task of drafting, negotiation and reviewing contracts on behalf of their clients. These contracts may include agreements between owners and contractors, subcontractor agreements, supplier contracts, and design professional agreements. They ensure that contracts accurately reflect the parties' intentions, allocate risks appropriately, and protect their clients' interests. Construction lawyers also have the responsibility of dispute resolution and risk management. All lawyers must have their client’s interests at the forefront of their practice.

Why does construction require specialised legal support?

The construction industry requires specialised support in response to the complexities that face the construction industry. The legal requirements surrounding construction projects are intricate and encompass a wide range of potential legal issues. Risk management is crucial within construction in response to the potential circumstances such as delays and safety hazards pushing back the completion of a project. Consequently, having specialised legal support is important in identifying, assessing and mitigating these risks to ensure the interests of the projects and stakeholders are safeguarded. The complex network of contractual relationships among owners, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and designers necessitates specialised legal assistance. Construction lawyers have a large role in negotiating contracts and ensuring that these contracts are reflective of their client’s needs.

The diverse landscape of the construction industry is heavily regulated and the standards are constantly changing within all levels of government. Construction is an industry that is constantly evolving and consequently, requires legal support that understands the various legal changes which are occurring within the industry. Having knowledge on the rules and regulations associated with zoning is a trait that construction lawyers must have that other lawyers may not inherit. Construction lawyers are ultimately vital key figures in achieving successful project outcomes and protecting the legal interests of projects.

How much do construction lawyers charge?

In response to the constantly evolving landscape of construction, construction lawyers face a wide range of challenges which they must overcome.

Some of the key legal challenges construction lawyers face include:

• Contractual disputes
Contractual disputes are a potential source of tension for all parties involved within the construction industry. These disputes may arise from the delay, changes of scope or even the breaches associated with contracts. Construction lawyers must ensure they are able to resolve these disputes through employing negotiation skills or even applying alternative dispute resolutions.

• Compliance The construction industry is heavily regulated and in response, clients and projects are often non compliant in their operations. Various legislations, codes and regulations operate on a local, state and federal level which govern all aspects of construction management. Construction lawyers must ensure they navigate these complex issues through promoting compliance and avoiding potential legal consequences.

• Payments and Performance Bonds

Issues related to payment and performance bonds are common in the construction industry, particularly in cases of non-payment or non-performance by contractors or subcontractors. Construction lawyers play a critical role in enforcing bond claims on behalf of their clients and ensuring that they receive the compensation they are entitled to under these bonds.

What are the signs I need a construction lawyer?

Recognising the signs of when you may need a construction lawyer is crucial in ensuring your interests and your construction project’s interests are met. Registering when a construction lawyer may be needed for your projects can promote a smooth progression when completing projects and meeting deadlines. If you find issues around contracts and compliance arising, it is likely that you need a construction lawyer, as contract negotiation and compliance in all forms are aspects that construction lawyers consider. Issues surrounding payment projects and risk management are also areas which construction lawyers specialise in. Projects which have issues around the allocation of funds and salaries, alongside the presence of non compliance, are likely to require a construction lawyer to be present.

What are the financial benefits of using a construction lawyer?

Using a construction lawyer can provide several financial benefits for a construction project contributing to both immediate cost savings and long term financial stability. A construction lawyer can prevent costly disputes from happening in the future through ensuring compliances and contracts which have been drafted correctly. Having a construction lawyer early on within projects prevents potential legal issues from occurring down the line and in response, prevents financial obligations put on the business. Construction lawyers are also efficient dispute resolvers, representing interests and seeking efficient solutions, rather than costly litigation. Whilst there is potential for litigation, construction lawyers aim to resolve disputes quickly, minimising legal fees and delays for projects. Construction lawyers also aim to ensure projects are adherent and compliant with all laws. In response, preventing issues of non compliance which is likely to result in penalties. Using a construction lawyer to assist in project management will also avoid delays and penalties, leading to significant financial and time savings.

How do I choose the right construction lawyer?

Choosing the right construction lawyer is essential for ensuring the successful handling of legal matters related to your construction project. Some tips to help you make an informed decision on choosing the right construction lawyer include:

• Assess experience and expertise
Assessing a construction lawyer’s experience and expertise can assist you in finding the right construction lawyer. Construction lawyers should have a strong track record in handling issues surrounding construction management and aspects impacting construction such as compliance, dispute resolution and contract negotiations.

• Review fee structures Reviewing a lawyer’s fee structure can assist in ensuring that the construction lawyer you utilise for your projects is within your price range. Construction lawyers differ in price, and finding one which is affordable and successful when it comes to their cases is central to ensuring you are correctly choosing the right construction lawyer.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the right construction lawyer who not only meets your legal needs but also becomes a valuable strategic partner in guiding your business to success. Lawpath has a large number of construction lawyers who provide startup assistance on a fixed rate basis and understand the complexities associated with operating as a startup. Get in contact with our legal service team to access startup lawyers who can tailor their advice to all factors impacting your business

What role do construction lawyers have in dispute resolution?

Construction lawyers play a pivotal role in dispute resolution within the construction industry, helping to resolve conflicts efficiently and effectively. The construction industry is one which has various disputes arising amongst all stakeholders in response to the disagreements that may arise over projects, their deadlines and potential disagreements over their completion. Construction lawyers have a role in negotiating, mediating and arbitrating disputes that arise within construction projects. In some situations, alternative dispute resolution methods will not work and in response, construction lawyers will also engage in litigation.