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San Diego Construction Law Blog

What you need to know about changes to construction contracts

Having work done in the construction industry can be a complex undertaking. You have to find a contractor who can get the project done, and you have to find terms that are negotiable to both sides. In most cases, there are going to be adjustments to the terms of the contract when you are working through the project. These alterations are usually relayed through change orders.

A change order is an addition or omission from the original contract. Both parties have to agree on the terms of the order. There are many reasons why this might be necessary. Something as simple as adding a window to a home's plans or deciding that you want a different type of flooring would require a change order.

Signs of a foundation issue that you shouldn't ignore

The foundation of a building is meant to last the life of the structure. When there are issues with the foundation, there is a good chance that the entire building can suffer. In the most extreme cases, the structure might lean or fall.

There are several things that signal an issue with the foundation. Becoming familiar with them can help you greatly, whether you just had a new building erected or have moved into an older one.

  • Doors and windows that stick. When you notice that doors don't open and close easily, your building might need to be evaluated for a foundation problem. Another issue to watch for is if the frames of those doors or windows separate from the wall.
  • Cracks in the wall. It doesn't matter if these are internal or external, they all signal a potential problem. These can be possible anywhere, but be especially wary when they occur above doors or windows that are sticking.
  • Wallpaper lifts or nails pop out. Both of these signs signal very serious problems. While it might not be a huge deal if they occur in only one small area, more widespread problems demand immediate action.
  • Bouncing floors. If the floors in your home feel almost like a trampoline, there might be a foundation issue, but there could also be a problem in the basement or crawlspace that is causing a buildup of humidity.

Address construction issues right away

Construction law matters can be very serious, not only because you deserve to have projects done how you want them, but also because a failure to keep the schedule can cost you money. There aren't many good reasons why contractors should run behind schedule. If you find that your project isn't being done on time, try to find out what happened and what the contractor is doing to get back on track.

Besides running behind schedule, there are many other things that might have happened during the course of the project. You might be able to spot some of these if you visit the job site often and get updates on what is going on.

Arbitration is included in some construction contracts

Many construction contracts outline a way that you will be able to handle disputes with the contractor. One of the possibilities is arbitration, which is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method. This is used instead of going to court to handle the matter. If this is included in your contract, you should understand what it means.

Contractors usually prefer this way to resolving issues because it is often less expensive and less time-consuming than going through a trial. You should remember that if you sign a contract including a clause for arbitration, you are agreeing to use that method if there is a dispute. One thing to find out is how the arbitrator or panel is chosen so that you know whether they are experienced in these matters.

Beware of issues that arise during the rainy season

As the spring rains come, people in this area of California must be vigilant to watch for signs of issues that come with the overflow of rains. Water damage to roofs, foundations and other components of structures can lead to serious issues. For most people, there aren't going to be any problems that come from it. When there are problems that arise, they must be addressed promptly, or massive destruction can occur.

One thing that many people don't think is how construction defects might play a part in this situation. The fact here is that any issues with the building can exacerbate the impacts of the rainy season. For example, a foundation without proper drainage might fail. This puts the entire building in danger of falling. Another example is a roof that isn't properly installed. There is a chance that it could fall in due to the weight of the waterlogged trusses and other components.

Issues with roof installations can produce serious problems

Having a new roof put on a building is sometimes necessary to help keep the interior of the structure protected from the weather. Failing to get it done properly and in a timely fashion can mean that the inside of the building suffers damage. This can be costly.

While many roofing jobs are successfully completed, there are times when the contractor doesn't handle things in the correct manner. They might use shoddy materials or might try to rush through the job and make errors in the workmanship. Unfortunately, these both mean that the building's owner may have to deal with damage later.

Hold contractors accountable for defects

Building contractors have a lot of responsibility to the people who hire them. They need to make sure that they understand the project, have the skills to do the work and can get the proper supplies for the job. Most of the time, they do what they have to do and the client is satisfied upon completion of the project. In the other cases, if some facet of the project didn't go as it should, there can be disagreements about how to resolve the matter.

When you hire a building contractor, you count on them to let you know if there are any issues. Some contractors don't inform clients that something is amiss. If you discover that there are any defects in the worksmanship, you can confront the contractor about correcting the issue. This could mean having to completely redo the project or allow the contractor to attempt to fix the problem.

Think about your options when a construction project goes awry

Issues with construction can be difficult to deal with because often you are working on a large project that's worth a lot of money. The last thing that you should have to deal with is delays or subpar work. There are many things that can go wrong when you are erecting a building. We can help you look into possible ways that you might be able to rectify the situation.

The ultimate goal is to finish the project without going over budget, even if that money is coming from expenses that aren't directly tied to the project. For example, if the project is for your business, you might have a loss of income if you can't use the structure or the area under construction.

Signs that a contractor isn't the right for your job

Modifying your home is a huge project. Whether you are trying to update it or adding on, you need to ensure that you are working with a contractor who is going to get the job done the way you want it. Finding out later that you hired someone who does shoddy work or who doesn't show up at all can be the start of a very difficult situation.

There are several things that you can watch for when you are vetting out contractors. There might be little things that just make the situation seem off. Pay attention to those because they might be the thing that saves you from working with someone who is just out to scam you.

Don't get overpowered by a pushy contractor

Construction projects are bound to have some hiccups as they proceed. When anything amiss happens, your contractor should alert you to the issue and find ways to overcome the problems. The real issue comes in when they aren't willing to do this. In these cases, you might have to turn to legal remedies to rectify the situation.

You might feel as though you aren't being heard when you speak to the contractor. Sometimes, they will try to overpower the client by reinforcing what they think about the issues. When this happens, it might be best to take a step back and review what is going on. If you think that you can get the contractor to see your side of the issue, you might try to approach it again. If you don't think it will work, it might be time to call in reinforcements.

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