Construction Law: What Contractors, Subcontractors, and Suppliers Must Know

Construction laws can be very complex. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that construction work totals $1.7 trillion annually. Construction is a massive focus of our economy, and it’s essential for anyone involved to understand how these laws might affect their project.


What is Construction Law? 

Construction law encompasses the laws, regulations, and ordinances that govern construction projects. It includes property law, administrative law, lien law, building codes, and contract law, to name a few. The laws are very complex but also provide guidance regarding who is responsible when an issue arises on a project.

Construction projects often involve large structures and lots of money, and problems often arise, leading to legal issues. Most construction jobs last months, if not years which adds to the problem. When a construction project issue ends up in court, it can be very costly.


Specific Areas of Construction Law 

The laws governing construction projects involve procedures for payment, licensure, and quality issues. Therefore, construction law may extend into other areas of the law, such as bankruptcy, administrative law, employment, environmental, regulatory, and even insurance. 

Sometimes, legal construction issues are categorized by periods, for example, pre-project, active (during), and post-project issues. A good construction lawyer can help you with any of these.  

Pre-project work might include drawing up contracts between all parties to avoid legal issues down the road. In addition, some projects require extensive approval, licensing, or permits before breaking ground. An experienced construction lawyer can work with contractors and design parties to help facilitate securing these permits with the applicable government agencies.  

Active project legal issues might include payment problems if one party fails to pay the contractor or subcontractor on time. Another issue that might arise is defects in the quality of workmanship or supplies. Change orders are another area ripe for disagreement, and an experienced construction law attorney can help with that.

Post-project legal assistance will include things like payment disputes, warranty claims, or defect issues. An experienced attorney can help to resolve these post-project issues. 


Building Laws for Protection 

Many building laws are in place to protect certain parties involved in construction projects. This includes contractors, employees, subs, and suppliers.  

A few examples of these protections include: 


Mechanics Lien and Bond Claim Law 

Florida has laws protecting private construction projects with a mechanics lien to help contractors get paid after completing a job. Bond claim laws protect public projects (and certain private projects) in the same way. However, these laws can be complicated as you have to comply with strict deadlines, file specific forms, and comply with other filing requirements. 

Construction Payment Laws 

Prompt payment and retainage laws somethings allow holding back specific funds until certain milestones have been reached and ensure that everyone gets paid on time for their work. An experienced construction attorney can help to ensure that a contract includes payment procedures and deadlines that are workable for all sides. 


Quality is another crucial aspect of any construction job. Some laws, including requirements to comply with the Florida Building Code, provide protections to ensure that quality and workmanship are prioritized. 


Where to Get Help 

Construction laws are very complex, and it’s essential to rely on your trusted construction attorney for help. Contact Haber Law for help with your next construction project.