How to avoid common legal issues in commercial construction

    No matter how much you try, there are just some things you can’t control – even in the commercial construction industry. Everything from torrential summer rains to supplier mix-ups can cause issues on site and impact timelines.

    What can you control? Being proactive about some common legal issues in the commercial construction industry. Becoming educated about these issues – and consulting attorneys when necessary – are the smartest ways to ensure projects run smoothly from the start.

    Here are some of the most common issues for general contractors to plan for and address before any potential problems arise:

    ContractsContract negotiations don’t have to be a thorn in your side. Contractors should prepare for common points to cover. Will there be financial penalties for delays? What about delays caused by third parties? What approval checkpoints are required for the project to be considered final?

    Material Costs – Sometimes the prices of materials used on a project can eliminate profits for contractors. One way to address this is to tie the final cost to materials or agree in a contract to a set a price that accounts for cost changes and won’t change based on fluctuations in the prices of those material.

    Licensing – This is an easy one. Contractors need to keep licenses top of mind, especially as requirements vary state by state. Stay up to date on your state’s laws and any changes that may occur.

    Injuries and Safety– Considered a “high hazard” industry, injuries on the job site are one of the most common issues for contractors but they are also one of the most preventable. The first step toward a safe project site is compliance with OSHA standards. Following these regulations while paying attention to equipment and electrical safety and other precautions will go a long way. In the event of an accident, prompt reporting is required.

    As one of East Tennessee’s premiere general contractors, Leon Williams Contractors takes pride in its proactive approach toward safe and successful projects.

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    5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Commercial Contractor

    Think you might need the services of a commercial contractor? Before hiring a professional, you’ll want to do your research and ask key questions to find the right match for the size and scope of your project.

    From renovating your retail space to outfitting your health practice to be more energy efficient, commercial construction contractors can help you usher your business into a new era.

    Here are five questions to ask a general contractor before agreeing to work together on a new project:

    1. Business History – Did you know that standards vary by state? In East Tennessee – and the entire state for that matter–contractors must be licensed to work. Other states have more lenient standards. Also, ask for a list of references so you can talk to others who have worked with the contractor. Don’t be afraid to ask former clients about any challenges they faced during the project, the punctuality of workers etc.

    2. Leadership Team – What’s the contractor’s policy regarding on-site supervision and using subcontractors? You’ll want to discuss who will supervise your project as well as who will be doing the actual labor. It is also a good idea to talk about liability insurance and workers’ compensation to ensure everyone who would be working on your project site is fully covered.

    3. Timing and Execution – Timing is important for everyone involved. Ask your potential contractor to provide a timeline with a start date and completion date as well as any factors (weather, change orders) that have the power to impact the timeline. Inquire about other projects that may be going on simultaneously and if your project site will share any workers with the contractor’s other clients during that time.

    4. Routine Work – Good contractors have a process or way of working that sets them apart from the rest. The information-gathering stage is the best time to learn more about their project routines.

    5. Money Matters – What will you be required to put down? It’s important to have a frank discussion about budgets and expenses.

    To learn more about working with a general contractor that will simplify the building process for your commercial project, contact Leon Williams Contractors.

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