Construction projects often involve complex networks of contractual relationships between the owner, the general contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers. In addition, federal, state, and local statutes come into play at every step in a construction process. Obviously, the potential for disputes is high, and the means for resolving them can exert a decisive impact on the success of your project.
When millions of dollars are at stake, it doesn’t make much sense to “wing it.” Contracts must be carefully drafted in order to prevent disputes from erupting in the first place. Once a dispute arises, it must be dealt with effectively, because a dispute between two parties could cause a delay in the completion of project milestones, which could cause additional disputes to erupt in a chain reaction.
Effective and Efficient Legal Representation
My name is Jonathan D. Schmidt, and I handle all aspects of construction projects including:
- Payment issues
- Contract review
- Construction claims
- Loan defaults
- Mechanic’s liens
- Professional negligence
- Warranty claims
- Specification disputes
- Partnership and joint venture dissolutions
- Insurance issues
Some of My Practice Areas
I practice in a wide variety of business-related fields, including:
- Business litigation
- Contract litigation
- Business formation
- Employment litigation
- Breach of contract
- Landlord/tenant disputes
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What kinds of issues should be covered in construction contracts?
Some of the most common issues are:
- Performance delays
- Construction defects
- Dispute resolution
Each contract is different because each project is different. A construction contract should be viewed as a holistic entity with an eye toward how its various provisions fit together.
What is a mechanic’s lien?
A mechanic’s lien is a security interest in a parcel of real estate that is granted in favor of a contractor or subcontractor to ensure payment from the building owner in case the contractor or subcontractor is not paid. A subcontractor can enforce a mechanic’s lien against the owner even if the owner has already paid the general contractor in full.
Can I sue a contractor who charges me more than his initial estimate?
Maybe, maybe not. A contractor is not legally obligated to keep his charges within an estimate. Nevertheless, if the charges are so much greater than the estimate that it raises a suspicion of fraud on the part of the contractor, you might be able to pursue a claim on this basis. Much of it will come down to how the estimate or contract is written.
What types of construction disputes are the most common?
Construction disputes come in a dizzying number of varieties. Some of the most common are:
- work plans/specifications
- division of labor between the general contractor and the subcontractors
- construction defects
- issues related to payments and the timing of the construction.
Which dispute resolution method is better – private settlement, courtroom litigation, arbitration or mediation?
Private settlement is usually preferable if acceptable terms can be agreed upon. If settlement negotiations fail, courtroom litigation is normally the alternative. Arbitration and mediation are rarely used unless they are required by contract.
When the Stakes are High…
The first decision you make when a legal issue arises in your construction project might turn out to be the most important decision of all—who you choose to represent you. I am confident that you look at things the same way I do—objective standards are far more reliable than self-promotion. I am comfortable with that attitude, because of the “verdict” that my peers have reached concerning the quality of my services:
- In 2017, Super Lawyers named me a “Rising Star” along with only 2.5 percent of my peers.
- The Martindale Hubbell international legal directory rates me as “Distinguished”.
- The Avvo legal ratings service rates me as “Superb” (10/10).
Time is Money – Act Today
If your company or project is located in the Cedar Rapids area (or anywhere in Eastern Iowa), or if your dispute or issue arose here, feel free to contact me online or call my office at (319) 774-6078, and I will schedule an initial evaluation of your case.