Craftsman Book Company

  • Contractor Without a Contract

    Contractor Without a Contract

    Nearly all public works projects are done on terms set by the public agency. The contractor has little or no say in the matter. It’s only on smaller residential and commercial jobs that contractors get to shape the agreement – offer terms likely to save the day if the job goes bad.

    It should be obvious: Contractors with an opportunity to write their own agreements should jump at the chance. Yet, some don’t. Here’s an example: Continue reading

  • Deletion Change Orders

    Nothing I’ve seen causes contractors more legal headaches than change orders. If you’ve dipped into the pages of this blog over the last ten years, you’ve seen how changes in the work can spoil nearly any job. A New York case decided last month illustrates the point. Here’s what happened.

    Lanmark Group, a New York prime contractor, won the bid to do nearly $15 million in improvements to the Vince Lombardi School in Brooklyn. Lanmark awarded the masonry part of the job to Graciano Corp. at a subcontract price of $5,320,000.

    It didn’t go well. Continue reading

  • How Long Can A Contractor Be Held Responsible For Construction Defect?

    fire-damage-construction-defect-lawLet Sleeping Dogs Lie

    Fire damaged Terry Bridgwood’s home in Newburyport, MA a few years ago. Cost of repair was over $40,000. Apparently, the fire started in a ceiling light fixture. That’s strange. Light fixtures shouldn’t start fires. Her attorney agreed and did some checking.

    Continue reading

  • What Makes a Good Home Appraisal?

    Appraisals

    Appraisals come in at least three flavors. The first is based on comps. What would a comparable property sell for in the same area? The second is based on expected revenue. That’s the most common way to appraise commercial properties. The third type of appraisal is the replacement cost. In some ways, cost-based appraisals are similar to construction cost estimates.  Continue reading

  • Recovery from Hurricane Florence

    Recovery from Hurricane Florence

    A week after Hurricane Florence passed through North and South Carolina, rivers are still above flood stage, schools are still closed and owners are still assessing the damage. The number of homes flooded will be in the low six figures – not as many as from Hurricane Harvey (over 200,000) or Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (close to 1 million). But Hurricane Florence is still a catastrophe for the communities affected. Unlike Harvey in Houston or Katrina in New Orleans, damage from Florence is mostly rising water – not covered by home insurance. About two-thirds of homes affected by Hurricane Florence have no coverage. That’s going to complicate and delay recovery from Hurricane Florence. Continue reading

  • How Does a Contractor Find More Work?

    How Does A Contractor Find More Work?

    A few years ago, I sat down with an architect friend, Bill Mitchell, to answer a simple question, “How does a contractor find more work?” Bill knows construction. He’s been designing and building residential, commercial and industrial projects for over 30 years. Here’s our list of what it takes to sell construction services in a competitive market: Continue reading

  • Guaranteed Maximum Price Contracting - GMP Contract

    If you’ve never met a GMP contract, let me provide an introduction. GMP is a handy tool put to good use by many contractors.

    Back in July of 2010, I explained why home improvement contractors in six states (CA, IL, MA, NV, PA and TN) use GMP contracts. In those states, time & material contracts aren't legal for most residential work and can't be enforced. That makes GMP contracts an obvious choice. What I didn’t explain back in 2010 was how to write a GMP contract. So here goes. Continue reading

  • Changes in Construction Contract Law – First Half of 2018

    Changes in Construction Contract Law -- First Half of 2018

    So far this year, eighteen states have changed how construction contractors have to do business. Some changes are trivial. Others will affect most contractors in the state.

    Here’s a state-by-state run-down on the most significant changes in Construction Contract law.

    Continue reading

  • Limits on Warranty Claims

    Limits on Warranty Claims.

    Is this your worst nightmare?

    You get a call out of the blue complaining about a job you finished many years ago. The caller complains your work was defective – required a lot of repairs, many thousands worth in fact. And the person complaining isn’t even someone you know. It’s someone who bought the house years later!

    In a nutshell, that’s what happened to Chip Buerger of Chip Buerger Custom Homes, Inc. in Spicewood, Texas. When Chip didn’t pay what was asked, James and Maureen Maroney filed suit. That was February 2016. Last week, the Texas Court of Appeals decided the case. I’ll explain what the appellate court ruled. But first I’ll make an important point about warranty claims, and not just in Texas. Continue reading

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