Hiring a Contractor

Get Helpful Tips from Our Construction Law Attorneys

The relationship between a property owner and a contractor can work smoothly if both parties are willing to take the necessary steps. But despite everyone’s best intentions, this type of business relationship can famously become contentious. An attorney with experience in construction law can help you do what is necessary to make sure things go according to plan.

Hiring a contractor is something many property or building owners do at some point in their lives or careers. While some owners perform construction work themselves, for many, do-it-yourself is not a realistic option. Laws in many communities state that licensed professionals must do certain types of work, such as structural work and electrical installation. Most property owners also understand that they will, in the long run, save time and money by hiring a professional.

In addition to offering insight regarding hiring a contractor, our construction lawyers can help with disputes or other problems that may arise. Call (602) 483-6352 to learn more!

What Does a Contractor Do?

A contractor can be compared to the producer of a movie. It is the contractor's job to make sure everyone else does his or her job and to see that the project comes together. The contractor is responsible for turning the property owner’s ideas into reality.

Unless a construction project involves a very limited scope of work, the typical property owner will deal with a general contractor. The general contractor is the one responsible for the overall completion of the project. Some contractors can do all of the work necessary to complete a project. Most projects, however, require workers in several different fields: carpenters, framers, electricians, plumbers, masons, roofers and painters. Most contractors are not able to handle all of this work themselves and will hire subcontractors. Subcontractors typically interact with the general contractor and not the property owner. It is the general contractor's responsibility to make sure that subcontractors do their jobs and that the work they do meets the required specifications.

How Do I Hire a Contractor?

A contractor is a professional and, just as you would with any other professional, you should proceed carefully before you hire one. Do not hesitate to talk to several different contractors before hiring any one of them. It is important that you are satisfied with the contractor and confident that he or she will do the work to your satisfaction. Ask for references — most contractors are more than happy to provide you with the names of prior customers who are happy with the work done for them.

As you interview prospective contractors, be wary of the "scam artist." While most contractors are honest, there are many dishonest operators who should be avoided. You should be able to check with your city or state licensing board to learn if a contractor is licensed. While licensing itself is no guarantee of honesty, the fact that a contractor is operating without a license, probably in violation of the law, should be a cause for alarm. A contractor who is willing to cut corners with legal requirements is more likely to cut corners on the work he or she does. In addition, you should be able to review the record of complaints filed against a contractor. You should also check the records of lawsuits that may have been filed against the contractor. Lawsuits and complaints are not always an indication that anything is wrong, but a consistent pattern is a warning to dig deeper.

You should also review the bid carefully. Many home improvement disputes come about because the contractor promised more than he or she could deliver. For example, many standard home improvement contracts promise that a job will be completed in ninety days. Those contracts often fail to consider delays caused by the weather, suppliers, or subcontractors. Be sure you understand what the contractor agrees to do and decide for yourself if the promises are reasonable.

Contact a Construction Law Attorney

The relationship you have with a contractor is an important one. It is also a relationship that has the potential to create serious legal problems. Involve Righi Fitch Law Group today to receive counsel from an attorney who can help you avoid construction problems and resolve any issues quickly and effectively.

Contact us at (602) 483-6352 to get started! We represent clients in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Hawaii.

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