Resolving Construction-Related Legal Issues in Tacoma, WA

Construction projects can be complicated. In most projects, there are many parties with varying roles set out by a network of contractual obligations. If something falls through, it can cost everyone involved a significant amount of money. For this reason, it is important to have legal protections in place long before construction begins.

Many legal issues arise throughout the course of construction, and these issues can involve technical language, unique legal relationships, contracts, and more. If you are considering any type of construction, it is important to consult with a law firm that understands the language and principles of construction law and that can represent your interests from start to finish.

Terry and Clinton Brink of the Brink Law Firm represent parties in construction projects and disputes, and can assist you with any construction-related matters that arise. With unique, firsthand knowledge of the construction field, they provide highly qualified representation you can trust. If your construction project is in the south sound area, including Pierce County, King County, Thurston County and Kitsap County, please call today for more information.

Handling a Wide Variety of Construction Matters

Construction projects involve many players—all of whom may need legal assistance and representation. At the Brink Law Firm, our clients include the following and more:

  • Owners
  • Developers
  • Contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Engineers
  • Surveyors
  • Suppliers
  • Consultants

We can help during any and all phases of the construction process. The following are only some of the matters we can handle.

Construction Agreements

Construction projects rely on promises between different parties. Those promises should be memorialized in a carefully-drafted and negotiated construction agreement that, when signed, will be binding on each party. You want to ensure you have an experienced attorney negotiating, drafting, and reviewing any agreements to be certain that your rights and interests are adequately protected should something go wrong.

Breach of Contract

As mentioned, construction projects involve complex agreements that are legally binding on everyone who signs the contract. Despite having such contracts in place, parties often fail to uphold their end of the deal and breach the contract. How a breach is handled is often dictated by the terms of the contract (emphasizing the importance of a well-drafted agreement).

Our attorneys can help to resolve the dispute outside of court or can file a lawsuit seeking damages if needed. Damages can vary in a construction contract case, ranging from money damages to specific performance by the breaching party. We will determine your rights under the contract and the law, and fight to uphold them against a breaching party.

Change Orders

Not every detail of a construction project can be perfectly planned out from the outset. Therefore, changes often need to be made along the way to adapt to evolving needs or goals. In such a situation, the parties can all agree to amend the original construction agreement through a change order. Change orders must satisfy all legal contract requirements and should always be overseen by an experienced construction contract lawyer.

Construction Delays

Construction delays can sometimes result in litigation for damages or a breach of contract action if the delay results in a significant loss of money to one or more party.

If you suspect that a construction delay may be on the horizon for you, it is important to address it. Below, are some general recommendations for how to approach construction delays. To discuss the specifics of your case with an attorney, call our office at 253.620.6666 or send us an email online.

If You Are the Client/Customer

If you are the client/customer (rather than a contractor or mechanic) and suspect a damaging delay on your construction project, the first thing you should do is bring the matter up with your contractor, and let him know that the delay will hurt your project or violate the contract. Often, these delays are foreseeable and preventable with the right workaround. If the contractor knows what’s at stake, he may be willing to reallocating resources to ensure that your project is completed on time.

Potential damages include all kinds of financial burdens incurred by the delay (unless otherwise prescribed by contract). For example, if your construction project involves your home, you may have to say in a hotel. If you own or operate a business, a construction delay could prevent you from operating and generating revenue. Letting your contractor know that these kinds of issues may arise (and that they could potentially be liable for the damages) can get your project back on track and put them on notice that you may take action.

If a delay does happen, you should keep track of any expenses you incur. Keep in mind that the law will only provide you with compensation for reasonable damages that you could not reasonably mitigate. So, if you have to rent a hotel room, don’t rent a suite; if you have to throttle back your business while your office is under construction, only do so to the extent necessary to accommodate the delay.

If You Are the Contractor Responsible for the Construction

As a contractor, few things are worse than realizing that your project may be delayed. Fortunately, you can minimize your legal liability by:

  • Addressing the matter informally: In some cases, simply explaining the situation to your customer will avoid any legal disputes.
  • Asking to modify your contract: If the property owner agrees to a change order or contract modification to extend the deadline then you’re typically off the hook.  Sometimes it is wise to offer to provide some services at a discount as consideration for such a change.
  • Preparing for legal action: If a delay is inevitable, and seems likely to injure your client, it’s best to contact a qualified construction attorney as soon as you can. Good counsel can help clarify your exposure, negotiate from a place of knowledge, and protect your interests.

Dispute Resolution

When conflicts or allegations arise regarding a breach of contract, delays, or another type of misconduct, litigation is usually a last resort. With the help of a skilled attorney, you can often resolve disputes simply by sitting down, discussing the matter, and negotiating a solution. If that doesn’t work, a contract may require parties to engage in arbitration or another type of mediation before litigation is possible. We can assist with all types of dispute resolution to ensure your rights are protected.

Construction Claims

When other forms of dispute resolution don’t work, our firm can represent you in filing a legal claim and throughout the litigation process.

Cost Overruns

It should be no surprise that many construction projects run over budget. Accurately estimating costs of equipment, labor, and supplies for an entire development can be difficult and, all too often, construction projects result in cost overruns, which can also result in disputes over who covers the cost. The Brink Law Firm not only helps to resolve cost overruns when they occur but also can help conduct a constructive analysis of what caused the overruns, and assist with more accurate planning in the future.

Labor Disputes

When construction workers walk off the job, a project can incur substantial delays and unnecessary costs. We can determine who may be held responsible for a labor dispute, and help to resolve the matter and seek any damages you deserve.

Mechanic’s Liens

We believe in every contractor and subcontractor’s right to be paid for the work completed. If nonpayment is an issue, we can assist clients in obtaining a mechanic’s lien against the property owner, as well as following up with a lawsuit when necessary. For more information, read our article on mechanic’s liens.

Leasing and Sales Agreements

As a construction project is being developed and completed, owners often seek to sell or rent units as they become available. As experienced real estate attorneys, we can assist with drafting and negotiating leases and sales agreements for you, as well as overseeing the entire real estate transaction process.

Unique Experience in Construction Projects

Terry Brink’s knowledge about construction goes beyond the classroom; he started his career as a contractor, became a developer, and is a Lifetime Director of the Pierce County Master Builders’ Association. Terry Brink has worn hardhats himself, operated heavy equipment, and knows the ins and outs of the construction industry—as well as the complications that can arise—on a firsthand basis. He brings a wealth of construction and real estate law experience and knowledge to each and every case.

Contact a Pierce County Construction Law Firm for Assistance

The Brink Law Firm handles all aspects of construction law and we are here to help you make the most out of your project and to protect your interests. If you would like to learn more about how we can assist you, please call our office at 253.620.6666 or contact us online today.