Phone

Asheville’s Take on Affordable Housing

The city of Asheville has taken a renewed interest in providing residents with affordable housing. In addition to providing a local guide to affordable housing, Asheville is moving forward with redeveloping city-owned land for affordable housing. Redevelopment is already underway at Lee Walker Heights, Asheville’s oldes public housing development, while several other projects are set to move forward. 

Below, an Asheville construction lawyer with Cotney Construction Law discusses Asheville’s ambitious plans for tackling its severe shortage of affordable housing. These plans will have an incredible impact on local construction companies, as will the challenges they are sure to face on these projects. 

The Affordable Housing Crisis

Asheville is a beautiful and thriving city with one major problem: it’s boxed in. With the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville has no room to sprawl like other growing cities in the country. “We are out of proportion, so the earning potential in Asheville is not keeping up with the cost of housing and that is causing a lot of people to feel the pinch,” said Mayor Esther Manheimer

Related: Prequalifying for North Carolina Construction Projects

Putting a Plan in Place 

In order to provide residents with affordable housing, Asheville plans to put a voter-approved $25 million bond towards transforming city-owned land into developments with affordable housing. The goal? 2,800 affordable units by 2021. As mentioned, redevelopment has already begun at Lee Walker Heights. Adjacent to Lee Walker Heights is 319 Biltmore, where Ashville is planning the development of affordable and mixed-income housing. 

Related: 3 Types of North Carolina Construction Bonds 

As of the time of this writing, Asheville has released a request for proposals (RFP) for developers. The deadline for submissions is March 25, 2020, and fast approaching. We recommend speaking with an Asheville construction attorney to ensure that your submission is proper and in line with the provided instructions. 

In the Years to Come 

319 Biltmore is just one of several redevelopment projects planned by the city of Asheville. In the years to come, construction companies will have numerous opportunities to work on these vital developments. As with any project, contractors can expect to encounter challenges while working on redevelopments in Asheville. Disputes, delays, and injuries are just a few of the issues that you can expect to encounter. For legal assistance on public projects in North Carolina, consult an Asheville contractor attorney from Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with an Asheville contractor lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

At some point in your construction career, you will be awaiting payment from an owner. This is simply a fact of life in construction. When a contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or any other type of construction professional is owed compensation, they have to consider their options for seeking payment. The mechanics’ lien is arguably the most effective legal device a professional can utilize in order to seek payment; however, the requirements to qualify for a lien, let alone file one, vary in every state and depend on a lot of other factors, including your position on the project, the type of project you’re working on, and the timing in which you filed a lien and other documents.

Everyone deserves to be compensated for their hard work, especially construction professionals who put their blood, sweat, and tears into a project. If you are owed compensation for your work, and the owner won’t budge, speak with a Charlotte construction lien attorney from Cotney Construction Law. Successfully applying a mechanics’ lien is a highly complicated process. In order to preserve your lien rights, your payment dispute requires the attention of a construction attorney who is highly experienced in lien law in the Tar Heel State.

Related: The Basics of North Carolina Lien Law

Understanding Lien Law in North Carolina

North Carolina does allow construction professionals access to a few different types of construction liens; however, understanding the nuances of each lien option can be tricky. Here is some more information on the two most common forms of construction liens:

Claim of Lien on Real Property   

If you are a general contractor or architect who contracted directly with the owner, you have the right to file a Claim of Lien on Real Property in North Carolina. Generally, this traditional form of a mechanics’ lien must be filed within 120 days of the final date that labor or materials were last furnished. Because most subcontractors do not enter into an agreement with an owner, they do not qualify for a Claim of Lien on Real Property (unless they have a right to file a Subrogated Claim of Lien on Real Property). If you’re a first, second, or third-tier subcontractor, consult a Charlotte mechanics’ lien attorney to learn more about your options for collecting payment. 

Notice of Claim of Lien Upon Funds

As we discussed above, qualifying for a Claim of Lien on Real Property in North Carolina is largely contingent on your construction contract. Entities that didn’t enter a direct contract with an owner will want to explore the option of filing a Claim of Lien on Funds. This legal device is often used if a subcontractor is owed compensation from the general contractor. In other words, the owner is prevented from paying the general contractor, who hasn’t yet paid the subcontractors. A Claim of Lien on Funds is available for all construction professionals. 

Related: Speak with a Lien Attorney in North Carolina

Other Considerations for North Carolina Mechanics’ Liens

Determining whether or not you have the right to file a mechanics’ lien on real property in North Carolina comes with many additional factors. Generally, if you’re a subcontractor who did not enter into a direct contract with the owner, you cannot file a traditional mechanics’ lien on real property; however, you can file a lien upon funds or you may have a right to file a subrogation lien. 

To make matters even more confusing, some types of lien require the construction professional to send notice to the owner or general contractor, whereas other liens are required to be filed with the county. Moreover, North Carolina lien law has experienced significant changes in lien requirements in recent years, including the additions of House Bill 1052 and Senate Bill 42. Construction professionals need to make certain they are up-to-speed on the latest legislature, especially in The Tar Heel State. 

At Cotney Construction Law, a construction lawyer in Wilmington, NC, can answer any questions related to mechanics’ lien requirements in North Carolina. We also offer construction firms the opportunity to invest in a comprehensive subscription plan. This unique opportunity allows construction firms to take advantage of unlimited lien and bond claims for all your projects at an affordable and fixed monthly budget. 

If you would like to speak with a contractor attorney in Wilmington, NC, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Losing a bid for a government project can be extremely frustrating and costly for your construction company. When you put in the time and effort to create a bid package, not being selected can feel like a waste of time and resources. Even worse, some projects are unfairly awarded to other construction firms. In these cases, protesting a bid decision is an option that can potentially lead to the contract being awarded to your company; however, there are strict guidelines for what constitutes filing a protest claim. 

In this article, a Charlotte bid protest attorney with Cotney Construction Law will discuss several reasons why you should protest an unfavorable bid decision. In order to file a successful claim, it is important that construction firms are aware of the acceptable reasons to challenge a bid decision. If your construction company received an unfavorable bid decision, get the knowledge you need by consulting a Charlotte bid protest lawyer at Cotney Construction Law. 

Acceptable Reasons to Protest a Bid Decision

You are required to follow a strict set of guidelines when placing bids for construction contracts. Protesting a bid decision is no different. Contractors in North Carolina who are unsatisfied with the outcome of the bid process can informally bring this to the attention of the government agency who conducted the bid. If this conversation doesn’t result in a favorable outcome, contractors can file a claim and appear in court. It is vital to base your protest claim on the reasons that North Carolina finds to be acceptable for a claim. 

Here are four instances when you can protest a bid decision:

1) Unjustifiably Narrow Specifications of the Bidding Procedure

This reason to protest pertains to bids that have unfair specifications provided by the agency during the research and planning phase. If the bid requirements are lacking, this will unjustly discriminate against companies who should not be reasonably expected to adhere to those requirements. In other words, your company will struggle to fulfill the expectations of the project if the specifications provided by the agency are incomplete. 

2) Erroneous Acceptance of a Bid 

This type of protest is utilized when the government awarded a contract to a company when certain statutory requirements were not fully met. Every project has specific requirements to be considered for procurement, and a company that fails to meet these requirements should be eliminated from consideration. For example, if a competitor failed to meet the deadline to deliver the bid package, they shouldn’t be considered for selection.

3) Failure to Follow Statutory Bidding Procedures

When a government fails to follow the statutory bidding procedures, such as failure to award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder, this is grounds for the bid decision to be challenged. To ensure that bid procedures are being met, partner with a Charlotte contractor attorney on all of your projects. Our construction attorneys are highly experienced at submitting successful bid packages and are extremely knowledgeable of the bid process. 

4) Awarding a Contract for Non-Permissible Reasons

This occurs when the government accepts a bid for unwarranted reasons. For example, the contract may be awarded to a firm that wasn’t the lowest qualified bidder. Another example is if a member of the selection committee has a personal connection with the firm that was awarded the bid. Regardless, any contract awarded to a firm for an illegitimate reason can be challenged.  

The Categories and Remedies for Claims

Claims can fit into two different categories: state claims, which address issues under the statutes of each state, and federal claims, which address complaints related to your constitutional rights, such as due process. 

The three existing remedies for such claims are as follows: 

  • Declaratory or injunctive relief 
  • Mandamus (or mandatory injunction)
  • Monetary damages

It is essential to know when to apply each specific remedy when pursuing a claim. Consult a Charlotte contractor lawyer to learn more about bid protests and the process of challenging an awarded bid.   

Consult a Construction Attorney 

Winning bids is essential for every successful contractor. Knowing when and how to protest a construction contract bid decision is a very important skill to have in the competitive world of contract bidding. At Cotney Construction Law, our construction attorneys can help you win more construction bids. We can also represent you in any construction-related legal proceeding, including a bid protest where a contract was unfairly awarded to a competitor.   

If you would like to speak with a Charlotte construction litigation lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Denver travelers (and taxpayers) have been waiting patiently for the completion of the Great Hall Project, “a renovation of the airport’s main Jeppesen Terminal to create an airport for the future with enhanced safety and security, a more intuitive passenger flow and increased capacity to accommodate continued growth.” Unfortunately, it looks like travelers will have to keep waiting as project costs have ballooned to over $1 billion. 

Below, a Denver construction dispute lawyer with Cotney Construction Law sifts through the controversy that surrounds Denver International Airport’s (DIA’s) Great Hall Project. Of note, we’ll discuss the developer on the project who was forced to go on the defensive after they were accused of causing delays — accusations that, as we’ll see below, may not paint an accurate picture of events. 

In the Beginning

It’s been nearly two decades since the opening of the DIA’s Great Hall. Knowing that updates would need to be made to accommodate the needs of today’s travelers, DIA entered into a 34-year contract with Great Hall Partners (GHP) in 2017 and construction commenced in July 2018. 

Their partnership lasted all of two years. 

Attempted Mediation 

Following months of escalating disputes stemming from delays — the largest being an anticipated 18-month delay due to issues with the concrete floor — DIA and GHP entered into mediation; however, efforts to reach a mutually beneficial resolution proved to be futile. 

Related: The Pros and Cons of Mediation  

Although mediation was not successful in this instance, it can be incredibly beneficial to disputing parties that are invested in seeing a project through to completion. Consult a Denver construction mediation attorney from Cotney Construction Law with any questions you may have regarding this alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. 

Parting Ways 

In August 2019, DIA and the City of Denver terminated their contract with GHP following projected overruns of $288 million on the $650 million project. DIA blamed GHP, citing costs and delays that did not align with requested changes. But as released documents reveal, DIA may have been the source of the delays all along. 

Related: Is a Construction Delay a Breach of Contract?

“The greatest substance is in a 248-page document, provided in partially redacted form, that recounts a two-year struggle over change orders. It repeatedly lays out examples of senior DIA staff members micromanaging the project’s designs and dithering on their decisions,” reports The Denver Post. It would seem that, over the course of the project, GHP encountered unreasonable change orders that resulted in the project’s delay. Among dozens of complaints cited by GHP, sources of contention on the Great Hall Project include: 

  • 14 months to settle on a restroom design
  • Four months to settle on materials to be used on the terminal’s walls 
  • Unavailability of the airport’s CEO
  • Inability to coordinate with other airport projects 
  • Failure on the owner’s part to disclose weak concrete

Change orders are inevitable in this industry. You never know when forces beyond your control will emerge to throw your project off track. Change orders are among the most common sources of scope creep, cost overruns, and delays, but they are sometimes necessary for ensuring that projects reach completion. Our Denver contractor attorneys recommend that your contracts always include language that clearly lays out how change orders are to be handled. If you ever find yourself in a situation where unreasonable change orders are threatening to derail your project, consult a Denver contractor lawyer from Cotney Construction Law. 

Related: Are Change Orders Costing Your Business Time and Money? 

The Fallout 

Following the contract determination, GHP sought over $288 million in associated costs — $166 million as a result of over two dozen change orders. As stated on the Great Hall Project’s own website

[DIN] will fund 100 percent of the project moving forward by refunding GHP’s investment in the project (approximately 25% of the construction cost) along with the lost return on their investment. In addition, the airport will pay for any outstanding invoices and costs related to work in place and materials procured, as well as certain termination costs related to contracts issued by GHP. 

Because DIA owns the plans and work performed to date, they were able to move forward with a new contractor, and that’s exactly what happened once the Denver City Council approved $130 million in contracts. Renovations to the Great Hall are now expected to be completed in 2024. 

Related: Can You Afford a $19 Million Dispute?

What to Take Away 

At Cotney Construction Law, our team of attorneys is all too familiar with the issues that plagued the Great Hall Project. A Denver construction litigation attorney is often brought in on cases involving delays, breach of contract, and finger-pointing. While our attorneys are adept at guiding clients through the litigation process, we’d like to help contractors and construction companies avoid litigation altogether by presenting and resolving disputes long before they are brought before a judge. 

Not only can a Denver construction lawyer negotiate, draft, and review your contractors to ensure that potential concerns such as mounting change orders are accounted for, but they can also employ ADR methods in the event that a dispute emerges. If your company is engaged in a high-profile construction project, partner with the team of attorneys that’s dedicated solely to the construction industry. For all of your construction-related legal needs, partner with a Denver construction attorney from Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with a Denver construction dispute attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Only half of all small businesses survive their first five years. You can bet that this applies to the construction industry where razor-thin profit margins mean the difference between success and failure. But what is the ideal profit margin? And what can construction companies do to hit their profit margin goals? These are the questions a construction lawyer in Clarksville, TN, will be answering in today’s article. For all of your construction-related legal needs, the team of attorneys from Cotney Construction Law are standing by. 

The Ideal Profit Margin 

The ideal profit margin is what your specific company needs in order to thrive. Your company’s gross profit margin should be enough to pay for taxes, administration costs, and your own salary. The goal is to have a net profit margin that comfortably puts you in the green. Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re seeing in the construction industry. 

A study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in 2017 found that, while profit margins have been steadily increasing, home builders are averaging gross profit margins of 19 percent and net profit margins of 7.6 percent. Although this is an improvement from 2008 when gross profit margins stood at 14.4 percent, this may still not be enough for companies to cover the cost of doing business, especially in other sectors of the industry. If bankruptcy ever threatens to derail a project you’re working on, consult a construction law attorney in Clarksville, TN

Setting a Net Profit Goal 

Construction is one of the most competitive industries on the planet. Contractors are constantly trying to one-up each other by offering to do the same work as their competitors for less. In order to remain profitable and competitive, you will need to set a goal. To set an appropriate goal, you will first need to look at your company’s net worth. 

Related: Lowering Construction Costs to Increase Profits

Your company’s net worth is how much it’s worth — assets minus liabilities. Only after discovering how much your company is worth can you hope to grow it. Your net profit goal should be about 25 percent of your company’s net worth. So if your company is worth $1,000,000, your net profit goal should be $250,000.

The Cost of Doing Business 

Now that you have a goal, it’s time to make it a reality. In order to do that, you’ll need to determine all of your expenses and profits. How much does it cost your company to keep the lights on each year? This is your overhead. Many people make the mistake of calculating overhead after sales; however, your company is still going to have costs regardless of how poor or well it does in a year. For this reason, you should estimate your overhead every year so that you can determine the sales you need to make to overcome your overhead and subsequently profit. 

Related: 7 Strategies for Improving Your Bottom Line

Setting a Sales Goal 

Here’s another goal you can set. First, take your overhead and add the net profit that you’re comfortable with. Next, divide this number by the average gross profit percentage ((total sales – the cost of goods and services/ total sale) x 100 percent). This will give you the sales goal you need to reach to meet your goals. 

Let’s say that your company’s overhead expenses total $750,000, and your net profit goal is $300,000. This gives us a gross profit goal of $1,050,000. Now, let’s assume your average gross profit is 20 percent of your gross profit goal. When we divide $1,050,000 by 20 percent, we land at a sales goal of $5,250,000. 

Setting goals and sticking to them is a challenge, especially in an industry that already demands so much from contractors. But if your company can achieve higher gross profit margins than its competitors, it’s in a better position to outperform and outlast them.  

Related: What Causes Construction Industry Bankruptcies?

Staying Competitive 

Remaining competitive and profitable in this industry means surrounding yourself with a knowledgeable team that can pick up the slack when needed. When it comes to setting profit goals, an experienced accountant or consultant can go a long way towards ensuring your success. Unfortunately, not all issues can be solved with number crunching. To ensure that your company not only survives but thrives, we recommend partnering with a construction lawyer in Franklin, TN.  

No matter how established a business may be, it will always encounter problems that threaten its success. Misclassifying workers, bankruptcy, and bid protests are just a few of the issues that contractors can encounter despite their best intentions. For an ally who can guide your company through any legal hardship, turn to the team of affordable, on-demand attorneys from our Tennessee law firm.

If you would like to speak with a construction law attorney in Franklin, TN, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Here at Cotney Construction Law, we’ve made it our mission to keep employers in the know regarding any laws that could impact their construction companies. One such law is a “right to work” amendment that was just passed by the Tennessee Senate. Fortunately, this amendment is to the benefit of construction companies and aims to solidify Tennessee as a right-to-work state. 

Below, a construction lawyer in Brentwood, TN, discusses this resolution and how it affects contractors in The Volunteer State. As always, the team of attorneys from Cotney Construction Law is on your side. 

For Future Generations 

As of the time of this writing, the measure soared through the Senate and will now be brought before the House, where it is likely to receive similar support. “This amendment will guarantee future generations of Tennessee workers their right to work regardless of whether they choose to join a union,” said Senator Brian Kesley. Assuming this constitutional amendment passes, it would prove incredibly difficult to weaken or repeal Tennessee’s right-to-work laws. 

Tennessee’s “Right to Work” Laws 

Tennessee is one of 27 right-to-work states that prohibit union membership status from being an employment requirement. Under Tennessee Code Annotated §50-1-201, “It is unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or association of any kind to deny or attempt to deny employment to any person by reason of the person’s membership in, affiliation with, resignation from, or refusal to join or affiliate with any labor union or employee organization of any kind.” Essentially, these laws prohibit unions from signing a contract with a company if the union would require workers to pay dues. 

Employer Considerations 

Opponents of the amendment believe that Tennessee’s right-to-work laws prevent employees from obtaining higher wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions — important considerations that can be implemented voluntarily by proactive employers. Remember, employers do have a responsibility to maintain a hazard-free work environment, regardless of Tennessee’s right-to-work laws. 

We hope this article has been informative, and if you are ever in need of a construction attorney in Brentwood, TN, turn to the experienced team at Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with a construction law attorney in Brentwood, TN, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

America’s national pastime deserves to be seen in person at a beautiful ballpark. That’s just what Fayetteville residents got with the construction of Segra Stadium, a project valued at over $40 million. But while watching the Fayetteville Woodpeckers from the stands of their new stadium, fans began noticing cracks in the concrete that make up the stadium — not the first challenge that engineers and construction crews have had to face while working on Segra Stadium. 

Below, we discuss the construction challenges behind Segra Stadium. Although this project is located in Fayetteville, the unexpected issues that affected Segra Stadium can occur on any project in North Carolina. For legal representation that can protect your company no matter the challenge, partner with a Charlotte construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law. 

Weathering the Storm

On Sept. 14, 2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas, bringing with it heavy rains, high winds, and extensive flooding — only a few weeks after groundbreaking was held at the project site. As the Fayetteville Observer reports, Hurricane Florence and other rain delays lead to the stadium project falling behind schedule, and an additional $1 million was requested to ensure that construction would be completed by opening day. There is always the chance that a hurricane or other act of God will lead to extensive delays. For this reason, we encourage contractors to review their contracts with a Charlotte construction attorney to ensure that they are protected, regardless of unforeseen circumstances. 

Related: Is a Construction Delay a Breach of Contract? 

Cosmetic Cracks 

Construction on Segra Stadium reached completion and the first ballgame was held on April 18, 2019. However, engineers were soon called to investigate concrete cracks at the stadium. Deemed to be “cosmetic,” the cracks are not a threat to the public; however, they may be a source of contention, as it is still being decided who will be responsible for paying for repairs. 

Related: Are Construction Defects Avoidable?

Debates like this are not uncommon in the industry, and contractors must do everything they can to prevent disputes that can develop following the discovery of a construction defect. Again, your contracts should specify how defects are to be resolved. If you are unsure of the contents of your construction contract, consult an experienced attorney from our Charlotte construction law firm

If you would like to speak with a Charlotte construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Contractors are always trying to stay one step ahead of the competition in the hopes of remaining prosperous in this competitive industry. In the pursuit of lucrative projects, many contractors elect to work in neighboring states as a foreign limited liability company (LLC). Operating in Oregon can result in incredible growth for a foreign company, so long as they remain compliant with state laws. 

Below, we discuss what out-of-state contractors need to know about working in Oregon. If you own a foreign business operating in the Beaver State, be sure to follow these rules to the letter; otherwise, you could face stiff penalties. For help operating lawfully in the State of Oregon, consult a Portland construction attorney from Cotney Construction Law. 

Registering Your Business 

Any business operating out of Oregon, including contractors and construction companies, must register with the Oregon Secretary of State. You can either register your business online or submit the relevant foreign business registration form. All you’ll need is the same information you would use to register your business in your home state — company name, date organized, the state where your company was organized, etc. Consult a Portland construction lawyer if you have any questions. 

Penalties

Failing to register your company with the Secretary of State could result in your company having to pay fees that would have otherwise been avoided. More importantly, you’ll be opening yourself up to debts and civil liabilities that an LLC would normally protect against. 

Related: How to File a Mechanic’s Lien in Oregon 

Licensing Requirements

Contractors must be licensed to advertise, bid on, or perform construction on improvements to real property in Oregon. While there are exceptions, most construction and repair services will require a license. Licensing in Oregon depends on the type of structure you work on, and contractors can apply for a residential endorsement, commercial endorsement, or both. 

A Responsible Managing Individual (RMI) will need to take a pre-licensing test. You will be notified immediately if you pass, and you can then submit a Construction Contractors Board (CCB) application, a $250 fee for a two-year license, a CCB surety bond, and proof of liability coverage. Applications and instructions for the licensing process can be found here

Penalties 

The penalty for contracting without a license varies depending on the severity of the offense. For a first offense, unlicensed contractors can be fined $1,000. For submitting a bid while unlicensed, contractors can be fined $700 per offense. And in the event that an owner has filed a complaint for damages, unlicensed contractors can be fined up to $5,000. Considering the costly fines involved, It simply isn’t worth it to contract without a license in Oregon or any state for that matter. Consult one of our Portland contractor lawyers if you are ever accused of contracting without a license. 

Related: 6 Common Reasons Contractors Need a License Defense Attorney

Workers’ Compensation Insurance 

Are you an employer? Do you have workers? If you answered yes to these questions, you probably need workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon. Talk to an insurance agent in your area to find the coverage that’s right for you. Consult a Portland contractor lawyer if you believe that your workers qualify as independent contractors. And don’t forget to display the required Notice of Compliance Poster if you are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. 

Penalties

The penalties for not having workers’ compensation insurance can be even more severe than contracting without a license. “The penalty for the first offense is twice the amount of premium you should have paid for insurance, with a minimum of $1,000.” Continuing to employ workers without coverage can result in an employer being fined $250 per day of noncompliance. Following a third order, contractors could even face jail time. 

Related: Preventing Workers’ Compensation Fraud at Your Workplace

General Liability Insurance 

As mentioned, you will need to provide proof of general liability insurance in order to obtain a license. You must carry this insurance for as long as you are licensed. Again, consult an insurance agent to find the insurance coverage that’s right for your company. This insurance should cover work subject to ORS 701. Essentially, it should cover the work you are licensed to perform. The policy amount will be determined by the license endorsement mentioned above. 

Related: Important OSHA Considerations for Oregon Contractors

Penalties

Failing to obtain general liability insurance could result in steep fines and the suspension of your license. Furthermore, general liability insurance protects your company from claims that result from property damage or personal injury. Imagine what would happen if a pedestrian were to be injured while walking on the outskirts of your jobsite. In this scenario, general liability insurance would be an incredible asset. Take it from our Portland contractor lawyers, obtaining general liability insurance can only benefit your company. 

Consult an Attorney 

If you are just getting started in Oregon, welcome! We wish you and your company all the success in the world. What we’ve discussed above are just a few of the considerations that we hope you’ll take to heart while contracting in Oregon. 

Here at Cotney Construction Law, we’ve made it our mission to educate contractors on ever-changing laws and ensure that they avoid issues that have plagued other construction companies. For all of your construction-related legal needs, consider working with our team at Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with a Portland construction attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Although the mechanics’ lien is an extremely effective tool for contractors and subcontractors, successfully serving a mechanics’ lien comes with many challenges. In The Volunteer State, the rules and regulations related to pre-lien and mechanics’ lien deadlines are heightened to an even higher level of complexity than the majority of states. Even worse, if you’re unaware of lien requirements, the penalty can be extremely serious, including a misdemeanor offense in certain circumstances. For this reason alone, Tennessee-based construction professionals (and out-of-state contractors working in Tennessee) should always consult a Nashville mechanics’ lien law attorney to reserve their right to seek unpaid compensation. 

In this article, construction attorneys with Cotney Construction Law will discuss pre-lien and mechanics’ lien deadlines. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of the lien process in the unforgiving State of Tennessee. For more information on liens, a Nashville construction lien lawyer is standing by to answer any of your questions related to seeking payment from a delinquent owner in The Volunteer State. 

Related: 3 Ways to Lose Your Lien Rights in Tennessee

What’s the Notice to Owner? 

A “Notice to Owner” is required in most states for general contractors. Tennessee is no exception. A Notice to Owner is the document that identifies the general contractor who is entering into an agreement with the owner to perform the work. The Notice to Owner is essentially a legal form that informs the owner that work is about to commence. In some cases, this notice is embedded in the contract, while in others, you’ll need to submit it in a timely fashion. If you fail to send this preliminary notice in Tennessee, your lien rights are no longer valid. 

A few things construction professionals should consider in Tennessee related to the Notice to Owner is that this document must be delivered and received by the owner before starting work on the project. Second, although the general contractor is the only professional that needs to deliver this notice, the term “general contractor” refers to any professional who contracts directly with the owner. For example, if a supplier enters a contract with the owner, even though they might not perform any tasks on the jobsite, they are considered a “general contractor” and are required to send a Notice to Owner before performing any services. 

Related: Pre-Lien Notices in Tennessee for Subcontractors

What’s a Notice of Nonpayment?

In lieu of a Notice to Owner, remote contractors who did not enter a contract directly with the owner (subcontractors, suppliers, and other construction professionals) have a 90-day window (from the last day of the month) to provide a notice to the owner for owed compensation. This document is called the Notice of Nonpayment. Unlike the Notice to Owner, which is a one-time deal, this notice must be provided each and every month that these contractors do not receive compensation. Similar to the Notice to Owner, if a subcontractor, supplier, or construction professional who is eligible to file a Notice of Nonpayment fails to provide payment, they will lose their lien rights. This is strictly required for professionals working on commercial projects. 

Understanding Mechanics’ Lien Requirements in Tennessee

Mechanics’ liens requirements can be difficult to navigate, as the time period to successfully file a lien against a property varies depending on your role on the project and the type of project you are working on. For general contractors to enforce a lien, they must file a lien within one year of the last furnishing of labor or materials. Subcontractors and other remote contractors have to file their lien within three months of the completion of work. The exception to these requirements is for general contractors working on smaller residential projects (one to four units) who are not required to file a lien. 

Although the above is a basic guideline to lien rights in Tennessee, there’s plenty of more complexities in regard to how to strengthen your claim. For example, most general contractors will follow the same guideline as remote contractors by filing their lien within 90 days of completion of work. As the Tennessee lien system comes with many twists and turns, consult a Knoxville construction lien lawyer to learn more. 

Related: Understanding Your Lien Rights

Strictly Enforced Deadlines

The ramifications of missing a pre-lien or mechanics’ lien deadline are serious. There’s no “late fee.” If you miss your deadline, your lien rights are lost. For this reason, construction professionals need to have a firm understanding of the lien laws in Tennessee. Moreover, if you’re an out-of-state contractor, it’s especially important to familiarize yourself with the unusually unforgiving lien laws in The Volunteer State, as you usually don’t find out that you can’t enforce a lien until you need to. Lastly, construction professionals need to closely track their days regarding the completion of work to ensure they maintain their lien rights. If you’re interested in enforcing a lien against a property, consult the construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with our Knoxville mechanics’ lien law attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Unfortunately, injuries happen every day in the construction industry, and it can sometimes feel like there is little that can be done to prevent them. In this brief article, a Greensboro construction lawyer will list the top five most common workplace injuries on construction sites. We will also give you a few tips to prevent these injuries from happening so that your projects can run smoothly and your workers can return home at the end of their shifts safe and sound. 

Falls

Falls represent the most common type of injury that workers face on construction sites. This includes falling from platforms, tripping on cables or equipment, or slipping while working in poor weather conditions. Falls can be particularly dangerous because they can lead to brain injury, neck and spinal cord damage, or death. 

Maintaining a safe work environment with daily safety inspections can help to reduce the risk of falling. There should be safety protocols in place on how to safely work on the job site, which should cover topics like the proper non-slip footwear, hard hats, and fall protection systems. If workers show up wearing clothing that does not comply with safety protocols, they should not be allowed on the jobsite until they’ve donned the proper work attire and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Electrocution

Electrocution is a real concern on construction sites, especially during extensive remodeling projects. The results from being electrocuted range from momentary discomfort to serious injuries that require hospitalization. Having workers wear specialized PPE designed for use on electrical projects can help mitigate some of the risks.

Burns

Many different tools and situations can cause someone to be burnt on a jobsite. Depending on the extent of the burn and its location, the burn may or may not require treatment. No matter what caused the burn, all injuries that occur on construction job sites should be documented in an incident report form. If you have any questions about what your company’s incident report form should document, contact a Greensboro construction law firm to learn more.

Cuts and Broken Bones

Cuts and broken bones can occur as a result of other injuries. For instance, if a worker falls off a platform, it is likely that they will break a bone or cut themselves as a result of the fall. Lacerations and broken bones can also happen independently, without the presence of other injuries. 

It is important that any injured worker receives prompt medical care even if the injury seems relatively minor. This not only provides the best care for your employee but also documents the severity of the injury for recordkeeping purposes. 

Equipment-Related Accidents

Heavy equipment, tools, and work trucks are used regularly on most construction sites. This can create dangerous situations, such as equipment-related accidents. Workers can be caught in-between, fall off, or otherwise injured by equipment. 

As equipment is necessary, it can be extremely challenging to try and completely remove the risk of injury to workers on construction sites; however, there are steps that you can take to keep everyone on the job site as safe as possible. This includes investing time in proper safety training courses for employees; ensuring that the right safety measures are in place, such as goggles and gloves; and having a robust safety program in place where employees and contractors continually monitor the site for possible safety hazards. Many larger construction companies hire someone who specializes in workplace safety as a permanent part of their team to do whatever is necessary to reduce the risk of injury.

Even if you take every available safety precautions, it is still possible that a worker will be injured on one of your construction sites. If this happens, call a Greensboro construction attorney as soon as possible. We can help identify hazards on your jobsite and provide you with knowledgeable OSHA defense in the event that you receive an OSHA citation from the incident. 

If you would like to speak with an attorney from our Greensboro construction law firm, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.