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San Diego Construction Law Blog

What is a passive construction defect?

Some construction defects are so serious that they pose a safety risk. If the framing is done incorrectly there could be a risk of a roof collapse, for instance. Poor electrical work that cuts corners could be a fire risk.

These types of defects could lead to injuries or even fatalities. But what about more minor issues?

Keep an eye on the construction project from start to finish

Shady contractors can turn your dream home build into a nightmare. Even people who have done all they can to vet the contractors with whom they are considering hiring, there is a chance that something will go wrong. We understand that you might not have expected any mistakes to occur during the process, so it might come as a shock if it happens.

Sometimes people who hire contractors to build homes feel funny about frequently checking the progress. You shouldn't ever think this way because you have made a big investment and have every right to check on the project. In fact, it is a good idea to visit the site often so that you can make sure things are going as planned.

Avoid falling victim to a shady contractor

Hiring a contractor is taking a chance that someone is going to adhere to the contract you sign and do the job that you are hiring him or her to do. There is a chance that you will end up working with a contractor who isn't doing either of these. If you are in the market for a contractor, you should make sure that you are keeping these warning signs of a shady contractor at the front of your mind.

You should be wary of contractors who go door-to-door to solicit business or who tell you that your job will be used as a demonstration. A contractor only accepting cash payments, offering discounts for referrals or asking for full payment upfront are also signs that something isn't right. You should even be wary of a contractor who offers longer than normal guarantees and those who don't have a phone number listed in a directory.

Tips for choosing a contractor for your building project

Choosing a contractor for your building or improvement project is something that you must take seriously. There are many things that can go wrong in these projects. You need to find a contractor that you trust and who is going to do what he or she was hired to do without trying to get over on you. This is something that can be rather challenging.

One of the most important things that you can do is speak to people who have used the contractor in the past. Ideally, you will find someone who you know and trust to find out about the contractor. If you don't personally know anyone who has worked with the person, you can ask the contractor for references.

Construction law isn't something that's easy to understand

Earthquakes are only one part of the hazards that homes face in California. Mudslides and shifting are also problems. For people who are having a home or structure of any sort built, being able to protect the building from these issues is a priority here.

Fortunately, you can work to have these issues addressed during the planning phase of the project. Contractors can also take steps to shore up the home so that you might not have to deal with these types of horrors.

Costs of massive 2007 fire cannot be passed to customers

The costs of a massive fire from 2007 involving a utility company from San Diego cannot be passed onto the customers, according to a ruling from the California Public Utilities Commission. San Diego Gas & Electric was looking for approval to bill its customers the $379 million in costs from multiple deadly fires started by power lines back in 2007.

The commission's ruling upheld a ruling reached by two judges back in August. The judges and the commission said that the utility company did not act reasonably when it came to managing and taking care of its equipment, and therefore, cannot pass the costs of the fire to its customers. The law in California allows utility companies to recover costs from incidents only if the utility company acts in a prudent way.

Multifaceted construction contracts protect both parties

Construction contracts have two purposes: (1) protection and (2) expectation. By achieving these purposes, they serve to protect the contractor and the client. They also relay the expectations that both parties have for the project.

In order to carry out their goals, construction contracts need to be as concise as possible, yet they also need to contain a great detail of information. This is where it pays to have an attorney on your side who can make sure that your construction contract is drafted appropriately.

Don't let the contingencies hang up your construction project

If you are a contractor, one risk management tool to include in your contract with homeowners is the construction contingency clause. This is a percentage of the contract value that is reserved for unanticipated changes in your work's breadth and scope.

Construction contingencies can be added either to the original estimate or included with the client's budget. While responsible contractors always try to include all possible expenses in their bids, it's impossible to factor in every potential extra expense on each job. That's what these safety nets are for.

Think about your options when you have a construction defect

As we recently discussed, construction law encompasses a host of issues that impact this field. One area that is particularly distressing is when a homeowner is subjected to a contractor who doesn't do what the homeowner paid for. This can leave the homeowner with a portion of the home that isn't usable. In the worst cases, the entire home will be uninhabitable.

When you don't have full use of your home because of a construction defect, you need to take action right away. You have certain protections under the state's laws, but you have to take action to call those into effect.

Know what is included in construction law

Construction law comprises many different circumstances. If you think that you will have to take legal action because of any issue with the construction of a structure, you should explore construction law.

One situation that is covered by this area of law is defects in construction. This has to do with everything from the planning of the project through the construction of the building. When there are issues that cause the building to be considered unsafe or to not be fully usable, the issues need to be addressed. This can happen through a lawsuit if the contractor or other liable party doesn't take responsibility for the problems.

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