Smoking marijuana was a way of getting through the day for journeyman Michael Wilborn. It calmed his nerves, helped alleviate the boredom of mundane parts of his job (residential work) and helped him sleep at night.
Summer is just about over but electrical contractors are still feeling the heat. There’s a deadline approaching on a lot of vital household repairs—ones that might have been long neglected but must now be rectified by experts.
Every electrical contractor involved in the installation and maintenance of life safety systems knows that what really drives the fire market is local, state and federal building codes and the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Sometimes the last 5 or 10 percent of the job is the hardest to complete, and the most expensive per item. You think that you have reached substantial completion and want to come to an understanding about what is left to be done for final completion and final payment.
The poet Robert Burns wrote that “the best laid plans of mice and men may soon go asunder.” (In the original, it was written: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ man gang aft agley.”) Nothing could be truer for construction schedules.
There are hundreds of examples: no written contract for a small commercial repair or home improvement; a “letter of intent” so you can start work; verbal direction to perform extras; your written contract not signed by the owner. Do you have an enforceable contract?
Electrical contractors are not unique in the problems they confront or the mistakes they make. Your increased exposure, however, comes from the fact that you tend to be one of the first trades on the job at the start of construction and one of the last at the end.
It is common practice in construction for an owner to require lien releases when payments are made. This way, the owner hopes to obtain assurances that the general contractor has paid its subcontractors and suppliers.
American law contains a concept known as “legal fiction.” For reasons of equity or otherwise, the law sometimes pretends that something exists when it does not, or that something does not exist when it does.
Some time ago, I represented a pharmaceutical company, which for years had employed an electrical contractor for maintenance and upgrades to its plant on a time-and-material basis. The owner then contracted for a new building to manufacture and package a dietary powder.
Change orders can be expected in construction, including error and omission corrections in the contract documents, changes in design, taking account of changed conditions, and change orders for claims (overtime, delays, and interferences).
The electrical contractors I know are intelligent, honest, and intent on doing a good job. These traits are significant and worthy of respect. But, by themselves, they will not protect you from “ailments” that are endemic to the profession.
When you encounter a problem job, your attention may become overly focused on solving the immediate, day-to-day concerns. You know the claim must be assembled and submitted, but you’re not ready. You know the facts, but they are not organized for an effective presentation.
Adverse events that cannot be blamed on the parties can, and do, occur on construction projects. Where the events are predictable (rain, snow, cold weather, etc.), the contractor is usually presumed to have accounted for them in its bid and schedule. No additional time or money will be given.