The Cobb Law Group’s Georgia Construction, Bond & Lien Law Blog clearly states its focus in its title. If you are a Georgia-based general or sub-contractor, or are doing work in that market, this blog is a must-read.
More impressively, you’ll discover significant value in the blog even if you are far from Georgia.
Consider, for example, Mark Cobb‘s posting last year to provide advice on how to increase your recovery rate if things don’t quite go right on projects.
Tragedy faced many construction business during the Great Recession. It impacted every layer of business from project developer and large prime contractor to building material supply stores and day laborers. Virtually no one was left unscathed.
This year, thankfully, there has been a turn-around in the construction industry. There are new public projects, new industrial and commercial projects, and new home construction. In fact, we poll our clients constantly, and the signs of prolonged improvement to construction economics are evident. Nonetheless, we should not forget the lessons that were learned during those recent, lean years.
He then outlines some specific areas of relevance: Some are focussed on Georgia legal rules, but as he notes in his posting, the concepts can be adapted anywhere.
You should watch for these issues: (I’ve published full text of some of them; you can read the others in the blog post.)
1. Fix Your Customer Contracts! Many specialty trade contractors have never used an attorney to prepare their construction contracts; or, if they did, it was a long time ago. This is a big mistake. True, laws change and your contracts should reflect these changes, but, more importantly, many client’s contract give up their rights because they started with sloppy contracts. For example, it is easier (and less expensive) for you to collect attorneys fees when you go after the money you are owed if your contract adequately addresses attorney’s fees. Unless an experienced construction lawyer has worked with you on your contract, then you may forfeit these rights.
2. Negotiate/Review Your Contracts
3. Shore Up Your Credit Applications
4. Due Diligence: It doesn’t matter whether you are a large national general contractor or a local specialty trade subcontractor, few parties use the opportunity to conduct meaningful due diligence on their business relationships. We saw this failure to conduct due diligence bankrupt businesses in the second and third years of the recession, yet, it was totally unnecessary.
5. Document! Document! Document!
6. Document Problem Areas.
7. Be Wary of Email. Email (texting too) is a blessing and a curse in the construction industry. Email consents can be useful, however, they tend to be vague and / or out of context. When it come to something important, write a letter–at least write a “letter-style” email which is more formal. Assuming your contract doesn’t contradict this, you can probably send your letter via email, but a letter forces most writers to more-fully develop the situation and place it in the correct context. This can save ambiguity, confusion or “he-said/she-said” situations down the road.
8. Watch Out for Georgia’s Lien Waivers.
9. Send a Notice to Owner/Contractor!
10. Payment Bond Claims.
11. Design Professional Have Rights Too. Traditionally, architects and engineers do not experience the same level of payment problems as other construction industry professionals, and this is usually credited with the fact that they are often paid first. The recession changed this, and all service and design professional have rights which may include the right to file a claim of lien for the money they are owed. Don’t let ignorance of Georgia’s law or professional “pride” prevent you from getting your payments by timely filing a lien for design services.
12. Mechanics & Materialmen’s Liens/Payment Bond Claims.
This blog undoubtedly is worthy of your vote. You can vote for as many blogs as you wish, but only in one ballot.