Roofing contractors are all too familiar with the legal obstacles they must overcome to retain licensure, avoid fines, and maintain profitability. From keeping workers safe to ensuring each and every roof installation is free of defects and meeting all the terms of your contract, roofing contractors are constantly tasked with juggling an array of important duties. When you take on more than you can handle, it can lead to conflicts with workers or owners, or worse, government agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
If you are a roofing contractor looking to lower your legal risk, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, a roofing lawyer will detail multiple ways roofing contractors can reduce their risk of coming into conflict with the law. Being proactive and taking this advice to heart could help you avoid a trip to the courtroom, but for assistance dealing with an existing issue related to roofing law, OSHA defense, employment law, or alternative dispute resolution, consult a roofing lawyer in Tennessee who has years of experience fighting on behalf of the industry.
Maintain Your Lien Rights
Owners are getting savvy. They understand how powerful the mechanic’s lien is as a means to keep them accountable, and not every owner is prepared to handle that pressure. If you’re offered a lucrative contract that contains a release of lien provision or otherwise purports that you must agree to sign a lien waiver, you should consult a roofing attorney before signing on the dotted line.
While the prospect of a highly lucrative contract can be alluring, forfeiting your right to file a mechanics lien could result in your firm being left out to dry when the owner fails to compensate you according to your prior agreement. If the owner designates a lien agent, be sure to have your roofing attorney correspond with them regularly and provide any lien-related documents by the approved deadlines. Remember, if you fail to furnish these documents according to the terms of Tennessee lien law, you could find yourself in hot water.
Keep Your Contracts Comprehensive and Clear
Contractual disputes are at the heart of the lion’s share of construction-related legal cases. A well-written contract can help you avoid a massive headache. Your contracts should clearly state the project’s price, deadline, and scope of work. In addition, it should include information about insurance, indemnity, and change orders. An ironclad contract can help you avoid disputes with the owner. When you and an owner maintain an amicable relationship, your chance of coming into conflict with the law is greatly reduced.
Compensate Employees According to Federal Labor Laws
Employers have options when it comes to compensating employees, but your method of payment must always align or surpass the figures outlined in laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act, Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act, Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act, to name a few. These are just some of the federal labor laws that dictate things like minimum wage rates, prevailing wage rates, child labor, and overtime pay qualifications. Some of these laws deal specifically with federally funded or assisted projects, while others pertain to the private sector.
For instance, some contractors are utilizing piece-rate compensation to pay workers on a “per-unit” basis. In other words, workers are compensated based on the number of tasks they complete rather than taking home an hourly wage. In some cases, piece-rate compensation can encourage workers to increase productivity as increased efficiency correlates with increased profits. However, you can’t use piece-rate compensation to avoid federal minimum wage and overtime rules. Keeping exhaustive records is key to avoiding a potential visit from the Department of Labor.
It’s easy to claim negligence when it comes to these complex and varied laws, but negligence doesn’t excuse a contractor from compensating their workers appropriately. Consult a roofing attorney in Tennessee for more information about maintaining compliance with the federal labor laws that apply to your projects.
Keep a Roofing Lawyer on Retainer
When a conflict arises, you will want to consult a roofing lawyer as soon as possible to save time and money; however, keeping a lawyer on retainer can often save you the initial headache of dealing with a conflict in the first place. When you’re taking on multiple projects with multiple owners, keeping a lawyer on retainer will pay for itself in no time.
If you would like to speak with a roofing attorney in Tennessee, 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.