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Why You Should Have an Attorney Review Construction Contracts 

Entering into a construction contract without the guidance of a lawyer can have major consequences. The following information applies to you if you are:

  • A general contractor being presented a contract by an owner or owner rep
  • A subcontractor being presented a contract by a GC
  • A sub-subcontractor or anyone else being presented a contract by someone up the “payment chain”

Why is this so important?

At Portuondo Law Firm, we understand that you are often working on multiple projects each month. You likely find the contracts presented to you to be long, complex, and tedious to read and try to decipher. It can be tempting to just sign on the dotted line, especially when it’s a project you’re excited about because you’re going to get paid good money and you know you can get it done within the deadline.

But what if you never actually get that money?

There are so many factors in a contract that need to be considered so that you can protect yourself from non-payment and other serious issues. There are countless different ways that the contract can be phrased or formulated to keep you from getting they money you are promised. Unfortunately, a lot of the wording that will keep you from being paid is not immediately evident to the typical reader. That means that even if you take the time to read through all of your contract yourself, it is likely that you will miss potential problems.

What can a lawyer do to help?

We carefully review your contracts and find all of the language that can harm your business. Most often, the person presenting the contract isn’t specifically trying to create unfair circumstances for you, but contracts almost always favor those who create them. In fact, sometimes we find the person up the payment chain also doesn’t know what language their own contract contains or what the consequences of that language are.

When you hire us to review your contracts, we explain in simple terms why the language of the contract could be harmful, so that you can clearly understand. Inevitably, we find clauses which are “non-negotiable” and recommend our clients not sign them as-is. In those cases, we give them the information they need to go back and try to negotiate and advocate for themselves to get a fairer deal. We can also provide new language upon request.  

Sometimes our clients insist that they need to move forward with the project despite an unfavorable contract. We are business owners, so we get it. In these instances, we will educate you on all the steps you and your crew need to take to best ensure you are paid and don’t end up in litigation.

While crises are often averted during this review process, the other benefit of these reviews is ensuring that the signer has awareness of certain elements of the contract that may be unexpected, such as:

  • Certain requirements must be met before you can submit a payment request.
  • Someone may need to attend a weekly safety meeting.
  • The change order has a multistep process or has to be submitted within a certain number of days.
  • And many more!

In our experience, the majority of the language that is not in your favor all has one common theme – creating obstacles to you getting paid on time and in full.  We find that knowledge truly is power when it comes to these deals.  Let us make sure you and your subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and materialmen get paid in a timely and fair manner.

At Portuondo Law Firm, we go over these things line by line. Then we meet with you on the phone or in person to break it down into simple terms.

Ready to get started? Call Portuondo Law Firm at 786.440.8615 or click here to schedule a FREE call with an attorney!

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Marisa Portuondo

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