Ambiguities, vagueness in contracts can be disastrous Drafting construction contracts takes skill. Interpreting someone else’s contract can be equally challenging, and more so if clauses can be read to have multiple, possibly contradictory meanings.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a sweeping civil rights legislation that increases contractors’ obligations and risks. Applying civil rights legislation in the context of building and code requirements is inherently uncomfortable and difficult.
When a job goes really wrong, for any number of reasons, it can result in the owner deciding that the contractor is so much at fault that their contract comes to a premature end. An owner’s default termination of a contractor has many ramifications.
Independent contract hires can create tricky situations There was a time when you joined a company for life. Times have changed. Now we are looking for guarantees. If you do not negotiate for your employment, you are lost. There are basic terms and conditions for an employee or a contract hire.
A 200-year-old chasm you may have to cross There is an old expression that hard cases make bad law. The reference is to a split in the legal system that has existed for a thousand years. What if one side in a legal battle has all the law on his side, but the equities go the other way?
Contractors need to develop highly specialized knowledge Healthcare facilities present the potential for financial gain for properly qualified electrical contractors. These projects also present a downside of risk of increased liability due to the nature of the projects and potential damages.
Defining the gray areas At its heart, unconscionability is equivalent to unscrupulous conduct, but this area of the law is generally uncharted waters. Can we come up with a helpful definition? In one case, a contractor garnered huge profits on a government job.
The threat of litigation on construction projects is real and constant. In the construction industry in general and electrical contracting in particular, litigation is always a possibility on every project.
A number of years ago, I hired a carpentry company to work on my house. At completion, the company’s president came over with his final invoice. I told him that the invoice was wrong. His crews had neglected to note extra trim I had ordered and extra work I had requested on some windows.
Contracts are drafted by committee. The group always includes an attorney who may or may not give practical considerations to the language drafted. That language, however, is of paramount importance to you. So what do you do when confronted with a book of terms and conditions? Ignore them?
At the recent Power Quality World Conference, I chaired a session on “Specifying and Purchasing PQ Equipment.” Afterward, I met one of the presenters from an electric utility who said he planned to bring his lawyer with him to the session the next day.
As was pointed out in last month’s column, when an electrical contractor expands to a new area of work such as school construction, a new set of parameters enters the estimating picture. Perusal of the specifications becomes a lesson in caution.
Safety violations on a construction site or multi-employer work site often present a dilemma regarding responsibility. Who pays? When it comes to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the answer is everyone.
When considering the various financial institutions we personally deal with each day, such as banks and investment corporations, we immediately think of how much security is involved to protect the financial assets held in, or controlled by the institution.