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Orange County Business & Commercial Law Blog

Delay clauses in construction contracts

When you are having a house built, there are few things as frustrating as seeing delays throw off the projected timetable. This can box you into a corner.

For instance, you may have already sold the home you live in. You may have given the new owners an occupancy date based on when you thought you could move into the new house. If that job runs far behind schedule, you now have to move twice, pay to rent a new place to live and deal with many other hassles that you did not expect and don't deserve.

Should you buy an existing construction company?

You want to start your own construction company. It is a dream you have had for a number of years now, and you are finally ready to make the transition from working for someone else to being in charge yourself.

While it is natural to assume that means you have to start from scratch, the reality is that you may be better off to buy a company that already exists. This is known as "entrepreneurship through acquisition."

Do earthquake standards need to save buildings?

The prevalence of earthquakes in much of California means that construction has to adhere to earthquake standards. These are designed to make buildings more resilient in the face of a quake than they would need to be elsewhere.

But is the goal to save the buildings themselves, allowing them to come through with minimal damage?

California's environmental laws may be aggravating housing crisis

Housing in California isn't cheap -- and it's often hard to find. The population of the state has exploded over the decades and the housing industry is having a hard time keeping up. This forces a lot of residents to endure long commutes -- and high prices -- just to find adequate housing.

So, why aren't more apartments being built? It seems like there's plenty of consumer demand for just about any housing that's offered.

Tips for starting a construction company

You have been doing construction for the last 15 years. You went to school for it and then spent years working for a local company. Now, you are ready to branch out and start your own construction business. You're tired of being an employee and you want to run things.

To help you get started, here are a few important tips from the U.S. Small Business Administration:

  1. Look into your financing options. Maybe you saved up enough to start the company with the cash you have on hand, but most people look into loans and lines of credit. You do not want to drown in debt, but you often need money to start making money.
  2. Find out what types of permits and licenses you will need. Make sure that your business is legally established.
  3. Remember that it goes beyond a business license. You may need a specific tradesman license, depending on what type of work you intend to do.
  4. Protect your company and yourself. Look into business insurance and find out what type of plan works best for you. Understand that this may change as the company grows.
  5. Learn what regulations govern the construction industry as a whole. For instance, you may want to look into workplace safety standards and energy efficiency standards.
  6. Find out what types of workers you will hire. Are you interested in working with subcontractors, contacting independent contractors, hiring your own employees or working with labor brokers?

For a business idea to be legal, you must follow the proper steps

Before you launch a new business, it is critical to make sure that your business idea itself is actually legal. If you're worried about it, there is reason to be cautious. Do not get ahead of yourself and start spending money, only to find out the idea is illegal when you are about to open your doors. The government could shut you down and it may cost you an incredible amount -- even if you do not face legal charges.

It is also important to note that your idea itself may be completely legal, but you still have to follow the proper steps to make sure you carry out that idea legally.

Large construction projects take too long, cost too much

When you hire a construction company, they give you a quote and you sign the contract based on their projections. They will tell you what they think the project will cost and how long they expect it to take. You review the details before you sign.

Many people assume that they're paying for exactly what is outlined in that quote. They sign because they like the final price -- or at least accept it -- and the time frame. Unfortunately, the reality is that most large projects take longer and cost more than those initial quotes.

What if your house gets built on the wrong lot?

Experts warn that it is often difficult for people who do not have training and experience to read lot lines and understand property boundaries. You may have a general sense of where your property ends, but do you know exactly what it stops and the next lot begins? A lot of people do not, so they hire professionals before buying homes or having them built.

But what happens when the professionals make mistakes? What if they build your home on the wrong lot? It happens, and California residents need to be aware of the problems it can cause.

Methods for resolving construction disputes

Construction disputes are very common in California. With so much construction occurring throughout the state, there are bound to be issues between the parties on the contract. Whether it's residential or commercial construction, all those involved need to know how to resolve construction disputes. Here are some of the best ways to resolve construction disputes in Orange County.

A common method to resolving construction disputes is to have a hearing in front of a dispute resolution board. The boards are comprised of retired construction professionals who hear the dispute and then render a decision that must be followed based on language in the contract.

How to determine liquidated damages over construction delays

What happens when your construction project doesn't go according to contract? You know that you're losing money every day that the project is delayed.

Quite often, the liquidated damages provision in your contract can move at least some of your losses to the builder or contractor involved in the delay. These are the damages you can charge against the money you still owe the contractor once the project is finished. They're usually represented in your construction contract as a daily charge. Each day that the project stays incomplete after its projected finish is a day you can deduct.

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