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5 Common Sense Ways to Improve Your Bottom Line

With bankruptcy as common as it is in the construction industry, construction companies need to use every trick in the book to ensure that they turn a profit on their projects. In this article, a Houston construction lawyer with Cotney Law discusses five common sense ways you can improve your bottom line. Taken at face value, these tips may seem like little more than picking up a penny from off the street. However, it’s not uncommon for contractors to take a closer look at their operations only to discover that they have been hemorrhaging tens of thousands of dollars. For an experienced expert that can safeguard your company from threats to its bottom line, partner with the Houston construction lawyers from Cotney Law. 

1. Manage Your Inventory 

Your company can’t afford to make mistakes when it comes to managing inventory, especially as the cost of materials continues to rise. It’s no secret that the current trade war is taking its toll on construction companies across the nation. The problem is that while material costs account for only a fraction of a project’s total value, they have an incredible impact on virtually every aspect of the project. 

For example, when materials become scarce on a project site, it leaves crews with little to do, which only further drives up the cost of labor and the project as a whole. Properly managing your inventory is a surefire way to combat rising material costs and improve your bottom line. We recommend investing in construction management software that can not only track orders and costs but also take the guesswork out of numerous other aspects of your operations. 

2. Invest in Your Workforce 

The hard truth is that the construction industry as a whole is facing a massive labor shortage. If you don’t take steps to ensure that your crew members are satisfied in their positions and rewarded for their efforts, another employer will. When you lose workers, you’re not only losing a skilled worker to a competitor but facing the challenging prospect of replacing them. By investing in your workforce, you’re investing in your projects and ensuring that they finish on time and under budget.

You may be thinking that a bonus or increase in pay is enough, but that may not be the case. Time and again, it’s been shown that higher wages alone are not enough to attract millennials to the industry. We recommend an attractive paid time off (PTO) policy to ensure that your workers feel appreciated, spend needed time with friends and family, and are refreshed when they step back onto the project site. The added bonus is that a well-rested workforce will be more efficient, less prone to errors, and less likely to succumb to injury. 

3. Be Present on Site in Some Form 

Considering that labor, not materials, is the main cause of rising construction costs, your workers should be expected to work when they aren’t enjoying PTO. First, ensure that you aren’t wasting a skilled laborer’s time on a menial task. Second, ensure that your workers aren’t skipping out on their duties. For example, a surprisingly costly problem in the construction industry is the prevalence of smoking. A report published by Emerald Group found that, on average, construction workers waste about 73 minutes a shift on smoke breaks, accounting for a 15.2 percent loss in productivity. 

Of course, there are delays that are beyond your workers’ control. Due to the number of subcontractors and sub-subcontractors that come and go on a construction project, it’s not uncommon for work to stall as everyone higher up in the job hierarchy waits for a smaller project to be completed before they can move in. Even if you aren’t present in the field, be sure that you have trustworthy managers in place to track your workers and ensure that everything is running smoothly. 

4. Measure Twice, Cut Once 

With projects commonly being awarded to the lowest bidder, it’s all too common for a construction company to submit a low bid and commit themselves to a mammoth undertaking that will be next to impossible to profit off of. In order to avoid this dilemma, your company must make accurate estimates before commencing work. 

Remember, you can always track how well your company does, even on projects where the scope of work is difficult to define. In order to make accurate estimates, it is imperative that you take what you’ve learned across all projects and apply them to your current ones. You can do this by conducting a post-mortem meeting with your team after every project to spotlight cost-saving solutions and issues that caused you to go over budget. And we can’t recommend this enough; hire a Houston construction lawyer to draft and review your contracts to ensure that the scope of work is clearly defined. Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for failure. 

5. Partner With a Houston Construction lawyer 

Throughout this article, we’ve discussed rising material costs, labor shortages, loss of productivity, and inaccurate estimates. What do all these issues have in common? They inevitably lead to delays and legal disputes. When that happens, you’ll find your bottom line shrinking as the possibility of reaching substantial completion on time and under budget diminishes. When you inevitably face a legal dispute in the construction industry, turn to a Houston contractor attorney from Cotney Law. 

At Cotney Law, our team of attorneys is dedicated to helping construction companies in all aspects of construction litigation, including contract disputes and payment disputes. If you’re looking for a common sense way to improve your bottom line, partner with the attorneys who will dedicate themselves to protecting you, your workers, and your business. Partner with the Houston contractor attorneys from Cotney Law. 

If you would like to speak with a Houston contractor attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

We are picking up where we left off with our discussion of the most commonly misunderstood construction contract clauses. In part one, we talked about two types of contract provisions that can stump even the most experienced of contractors and lead to a costly payment dispute: incorporation clauses and contingent payment clauses. 

Below, we will be discussing indemnity clauses and clauses that contain mechanic’s lien terms. While the state of Texas has enacted laws to protect contractors and subcontractors from potentially harmful clauses like these, you are no less responsible for understanding the contract clauses you are bound by. If you are caught up in a payment dispute as a result of vague contract clauses, consult a Houston construction lien attorney from Cotney Law to discuss your next steps. 

Indemnity Clauses 

Indemnity clauses require that a contractor or subcontractor indemnify, or hold harmless or defend, another party against their own negligence. Essentially, if a contractor or owner is responsible for damages, this clause shifts liability and requires another party to pay for those damages. 

Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Fortunately for construction professionals operating out of the Lone Star State, anti-indemnity statutes came in to effect in 2012 to make indemnity clauses unenforceable. Texas law states that “a provision in a construction contract, or in an agreement collateral to or affecting a construction contract, is void and unenforceable as against public policy to the extent that it requires an indemnitor to indemnify, hold harmless, or defend a party.” However, these laws do not apply to residential projects, public works projects, or damages resulting from injury or death. 

Mechanic’s Liens 

As we’ve covered previously, Texas has by far the most complex and intricate mechanic’s lien laws in the country. Filing a mechanic’s lien without the assistance of an attorney is a grueling process that is sure to put contractors up against tough lien deadlines and notice requirements. So, it’s appropriate that mechanic’s lien provisions in contracts are equally as misunderstood. 

Fortunately, Texas has recently cracked down on lien waivers, essentially making provisions that waive your lien rights invalid unless you’ve already received payment. However, similar to indemnity clauses, there are possible exceptions, and a contractor could find their lien rights threatened if they don’t review the contents of their contracts. To ensure that you understand every clause in the contracts you sign and that your lien rights are absolutely protected, your only option is to turn to a Houston construction lien attorney that is dedicated solely to representing the construction industry. 

If you would like to speak with a Houston construction lien attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

The construction contract is without a doubt the most important indicator of how a project will turn out. It is a document capable of both leading to and resolving conflict. But despite its importance, many industry professionals struggle to understand the various components of a contract and how they will impact their projects. In this two-part article, a Houston construction attorney from Cotney Law will discuss the most commonly misunderstood construction contract clauses to look out for. Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to have an experienced attorney review your contracts for accuracy and transparency. 

Incorporation Clauses

Incorporation clauses are provisions that make other unattached documents a part of the contract. Simply put, they’re a stand-in for other documents that are not currently provided. This is common on large projects with numerous subcontractors whom all have contracts that must refer back to the original contract between the general contractor and owner. Make no mistake, as long as a contract clearly describes the incorporated document, those who sign are legally bound by its contents, including extra terms that you add to a contract yourself. 

For this reason, it’s best to simply forgo incorporation clauses and have all relevant documents included. However, because that is not always possible, you should have a Houston construction attorney ready to review these clauses and all incorporated documents. 

Contingent Payment Clauses

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding pay-if-paid and pay-when-paid clauses. These are essentially timing mechanisms that state when a contractor is entitled to payment. Pay-when-paid clauses state that a subcontractor is entitled to payment once a contractor has been paid by an owner. Pay-if-paid clauses, on the other hand, state that a contractor is under no obligation to pay a subcontractor if they themselves haven’t received payment. If an owner refuses to pay or goes bankrupt, oh well. 

Like so many clauses, pay-if-paid clauses are designed to shift responsibility downstream to subcontractors and sub-subcontractors. While many states prohibit the inclusion of contingent payment clauses, they are enforceable in Texas as long as the language used throughout is clear. There are additional instances in which a contingent payment clause can become unenforceable, including if a subcontractor objected to its inclusion. Again, we recommend forgoing contingent payment clauses, especially those that are not in your favor. However, if such a clause must be included, be sure to consult our experienced Houston construction attorneys from Cotney Law to ensure that you are prepared for all possible outcomes. 

For more information on commonly misunderstood construction contract clauses, read part two

If you would like to speak with one of our Houston construction attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

In parts one and two of this three-part series, a Houston contractor attorney from Cotney Law discussed several important contract documents for construction projects, including:

  • Construction Contract Agreement
  • Scope of Work
  • Construction Schedule
  • General Conditions
  • Special Conditions
  • Specifications

Now, we will conclude our series by covering four additional documents found in construction contracts. These are the bill of quantities, cost estimates, drawings, and insurance coverage documents. If you have questions about any of these documents or are currently dealing with a breach of contract, consult a Houston contractor attorney.

Bill of Quantities

The bill of quantities operates exactly as its name suggests. It includes an itemized list detailing the quantities of materials, parts, and labor that will be utilized on a project. Without this document, putting together an accurate bid is difficult. You should cross-check this document regularly to ensure that there are no errors or omissions that affect your success on the project.

Cost Estimate

The cost estimate provides an outline of all materials used on the project and their costs. Essentially, it includes the values of any items listed on the bill of quantities. Depending on the format of your cost estimate, it may include a detailed report or a lump sum number that doesn’t specify per-unit values. In some contracts, the cost estimate is located in the specifications section. 

Drawings

Construction drawings are renderings of the work that will be performed over the course of a project. Basically, it’s the project blueprints, but it could include other graphic representations of the work to be performed, too. Another purpose of this document is to provide a visual element depicting the scope of work.

Insurance Coverage

Your contract should also include information pertaining to your insurance coverage as well as any necessary bonds. This document guarantees that you have the financial support necessary to make good on your promises in the contract. For example, this section will include an outline of your general liability insurance, builder’s risk insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance policy.

If you would like to speak with one of our Houston contractor attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, the best practices for construction contracts involve the use of clearly written contracts that manage to pack complicated information into a concise package. This package may contain several different types of documents that, when put together, form your construction contract. Every time you prepare to sign a contract, you will have many questions:

No two contracts should be identical, so approaching the signing table with questions is vital if you want to avoid common contract-related issues. This is especially true if an owner attempts to unload a boilerplate contract on you. Understanding each and every document contained in your contract can help you avoid signing a bad contract. A Houston construction lawyer can help you review your contracts, give you a breakdown of problematic clauses, and negotiate new terms on your behalf. 

In part one of this three-part series, we discussed how understanding each and every document in your contract is essential for contractors that want to avoid costly disputes involving scope of work or the construction schedule. Now, we will continue to explore important contract documents for construction projects, focusing on the general conditions, special conditions, and specifications.

General Conditions

Put simply, the general conditions of a construction contract outline the rights, responsibilities, and relationships between a contractor and owner. It covers the legalities of the contract, establishes a consistent legal framework, and discusses how disputes will be resolved. Because contractor-owner disputes are extremely common in the construction industry, it’s important to have a Houston construction lawyer add an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) clause providing both parties with the opportunity to settle disputes amicably outside of court using processes like mediation and arbitration. 

Special Conditions

Oftentimes viewed as an addendum to the existing general conditions of a contract, special conditions typically contain information related to specific conditions and clauses that address unique aspects of a project. For instance, if you were contracted to build seven identical apartment buildings but the last of the seven buildings was designated an “eco-friendly” structure because the materials were swapped out with sustainable alternatives, the special conditions may reference this and point the reader towards an additional document containing the exact specifications for this change.

Specifications

When it comes to the technical data and requirements for materials and building techniques, look no further than the specifications section of your contract. This is a comprehensive document that may change over time as change orders affecting the scope of work are introduced. 

To learn more about important contract documents for construction projects, read part three.

If you would like to speak with one of our Houston construction lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Take a second to think about your last construction-related dispute. Do you remember what the source of the conflict was? In many cases, a dispute can be traced back to a faulty or erroneous contract. Thinking back now, you probably regret signing that contract, but hindsight is 20/20, and there’s nothing you can do about it now. 

The good news is that you can greatly reduce your likelihood of becoming ensnared in future disputes by having a Houston construction attorney review your contracts in advance. This simple service has been proven to be an effective countermeasure against bad contracts. In this three-part series, our Houston construction attorneys will discuss several contract documents that are commonly used in the construction industry and provide examples of how these documents can affect your projects.

Construction Contract Agreement

This is the most basic component of any construction contract. Without a construction contract agreement, there is no formal agreement to perform the work detailed in the design specifications. As the principal agreement between the contractor and the owner, the construction contract agreement forms the foundation of a contract. The other components of your contract, including the scope of work and construction schedule (which we’ll discuss below), will be assembled around this agreement.

Scope of Work

A clear scope of work is essential to any successful project. This document outlines the work to be done and asserts that any necessary work falling outside the scope of work will require additional compensation at the owner’s expense. Depending on your contract, this document may also be referred to as the “statement of work.” Some of the fundamental aspects of scope of work include a description of the work to be done, a statement clarifying who is responsible for the completion of said work, the techniques that should be employed to complete the project, and precise information detailing the materials that are to be used on the project. Another important aspect of scope of work is that it contains terms and conditions for handling change orders. Having a clear policy relating to change orders is important if you want to avoid scope creep and keep your projects on time and under budget.

Construction Schedule

Another important component of any construction contract is the construction schedule. This document provides clear documentation explaining when a project will reach completion. It also details how to deal with scheduling problems. You may be required to update the construction schedule periodically throughout the project to provide increasingly accurate estimates. Depending on the type of contract you sign, the dissemination of payments may be based on the construction schedule. When you fall behind schedule, whether it’s your fault or not, consult a Houston construction attorney to see if you or the owner are responsible for footing the bill.

To learn more about important contract documents for construction projects, read parts two and three.

If you would like to speak with one of our Houston construction attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

The State of Texas is notorious for its exceedingly complicated lien laws. This means contractors that attempt to utilize a mechanic’s lien to obtain due compensation from an owner must be able to satisfy some extremely delicate deadlines and filing procedures. Even a single error or omission could result in a rejected lien, which can be detrimental to your efforts to procure payment.

In this article, a Houston construction lien attorney from Cotney Law will detail how contractors can confirm their eligibility in Texas’ complicated mechanic’s lien system. As you will learn over the course of this article, an experienced attorney can be a valuable partner in the fight against nonpayment. The future of your business is largely predicated on your ability to satisfy contracts and collect payments. When you’re doing everything in your power to meet the terms and conditions of your contract, you don’t want all of your hard work to be undone by a duplicitous owner. The mechanic’s lien is the most effective and proven solution for dealing with nonpayment, but only when handled by a Houston construction lien attorney with years of experience fighting for the industry.

Three Factors to Confirm Eligibility

Before you can file a mechanic’s lien, you have to confirm that you are legally allowed to do so. This determination can usually be made by answering three questions, including:

  1. Was the work you performed covered and protected by Texas lien laws?
  2. Did you provide all of the necessary notice requirements prior to filing?
  3. Have you satisfied the mandatory lien filing deadlines?

The first question can be answered by taking a look at the Texas Property Code, which breaks down project participants into three categories: those who furnish labor or materials, those who fabricate special materials, and design professions (engineers, architects, etc.). The answer to the second question depends on your role in a project. General contractors do not have to issue a notice before filing a lien against a piece of non-residential property. However, to file a lien against a piece of residential property, you must issue a disclosure notice and a list of subcontractors to the owner. Subcontractor lien filing requirements are more complex because they include specific rules for residential and non-residential projects as well as uniform rules that cover all projects. In addition to contractors, our Houston construction lien attorneys can assist subcontractors with their mechanic’s lien needs, including issuance of two-month and three-month notices. We can also help you meet all of the necessary deadlines to prevent the loss of your lien rights.

Consult a Houston Construction Lien Attorney

Whenever an owner decides to withhold payment, a Houston construction lien attorney can help you get what is rightfully yours. Whether through the use of a strongly worded demand letter or a perfected lien, our attorneys have years of experience fighting for the rights of contractors. Part of our mission as Houston construction lien attorneys is to ensure that contractors get paid for their hard work, so they can continue to help the construction industry grow and flourish.

If you would like to speak with one of our Houston construction lien attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Construction contracts are crucial for securing project completion. The details that shape project progression will be decided on with this document. If you’re reading this, you are likely a contractor that is frequently tasked with signing construction contracts. Below, we discuss what contractors should consider before they sign on the dotted line. To ensure every minute detail of your contract is reviewed for accuracy and transparency, contact a Houston construction attorney from Cotney Law. 

Scope of Work 

Before you sign, you must be aware of every aspect of the scope of work, including the expected time frame and prices. Be sure that the contract allows enough time for project completion and unforeseen hurdles that are sure to arise over the course of a project. Double check that the final contract amount is what you agreed to. If the scope of work is an attachment separate from the contract, be sure that the contract mentions this.  

Payment 

The contract should clearly state what you are to be paid and how often. This is crucial for avoiding disputes and ensuring that work continues on a project. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the payment schedule with an owner. Payments do little good if they are received after bills are due. Reviewing your contracts for payment details is especially important in Texas. Texas has prompt payment laws that stipulate when contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers must be paid by. In the event of slow payment, the contract will stipulate who is entitled to prompt payment penalties and remedies.

Dispute Resolution

Construction disputes are an unfortunate reality of the industry. They are made all the more unfortunate by how often they could have been avoided with a well-drafted construction contract. In the event of a dispute, your contract should have a clause pertaining to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation and arbitration, that stipulate how conflicts are addressed. 

You must also be on the lookout for language and sections that shift the blame from one party to another, such as indemnity clauses. Failure to account for a clause such as this could result in you being held responsible for another company’s negligence. This would be especially damaging in the event of a construction defect. 

Have a Professional Review Your Contract 

These are just a few of the things you should be considering before you sign. Determining if your contract is worded in your best interest will depend on its details and your specific situation. The only way to guarantee that a construction contract is comprehensive and well-drafted is to have it reviewed by Houston construction attorneys. Having a lawyer review your contract is a minor task that can pay dividends. Mechanic’s liens, stalled projects, and cash flow issues are all problems that can result from a poorly drafted contract. Before you sign, contact the team at Cotney Law to have your contract reviewed by a Houston construction attorney.

If you would like to speak with one of our Houston construction attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

The mechanic’s lien is the most powerful tool that a contractor can wield to obtain payment for services provided. As we’ve covered previously, the State of Texas has some of the most complex lien laws in the nation, often to the detriment of anyone seeking owed payment. However, new Texas laws aim to protect the lien rights of contractors and subcontractors working in the Lone Star State. 

Below, we discuss the changes to Texas Property Code 53.281 that protect those who may be pressured to waive their lien rights before beginning a project. If you are concerned that your lien rights are in jeopardy, contact a Houston construction lien attorney from Cotney Law. 

Changing Texas Law

We previously discussed the two different types of lien waivers: conditional and unconditional lien waivers. Despite their differences, these two lien waivers are essentially invalid in Texas unless payment has been received. However, a contractor can still waive their lien rights before work begins by signing a construction contract that includes a “no lien” clause. Until now, that is. 

Texas Property Code 53.281 stipulates that “Any waiver and release of lien or payment bond claim under this chapter is unenforceable unless a waiver and release is executed and delivered in accordance with this subchapter.” 

Of note, the subchapter states that there must be evidence of payment in the event of conditional release. The only way for a contractor to waive their lien rights is through a conditional or unconditional release, and those are only valid if payment has been received. Bottom line: unless you’ve been paid, you can’t waive your lien rights. 

Possible Exceptions 

As with many aspects of Texas lien law, there are exceptions. The above law only applies to private construction projects. Even then, the above lien waiver laws do not apply to contracts that pertain to residential projects and are “made before labor or materials are provided under the original contract or subcontract.” There are other exceptions that may apply to your situation. For assistance in determining if these laws apply to you, contact a Houston construction lien attorney

Exercising Your Lien Rights 

Retaining your lien rights is one of the most important things you can do as a contractor. You never know when payment disputes may threaten the success of your company. Texas has taken steps to protect the rights of contractors and subcontractors that put their all into projects. But protecting your lien rights is only half the battle. When an owner withholds payment, you must be prepared to exercise your lien rights in order to protect the company and projects you’ve invested in. For assistance with securing payment and filing a mechanic’s lien in Texas, partner with the team of Houston construction lien attorneys from Cotney Law. 

If you would like to speak with one of our Houston construction lien attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

In the State of Texas, contractors must have general liability insurance to perform construction work. Standard policies typically cover personal injury, property damage, negligence, and more, but these policies have limits, and some contractors find themselves in need of expanded coverage to protect their business.

Umbrella insurance can help you protect your business assets by boosting coverage limits across multiple policies, including:

  • General Liability 
  • Commercial Auto

One limitation facing umbrella insurance in Texas is that it doesn’t always include employer’s liability claims. This is because the State of Texas is the only state that doesn’t require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. For assistance with workers’ compensation claims, consult a Houston contractor attorney from Cotney Law.

General Liability

Project sites are filled with hazards that present a clear risk to workers, bystanders, adjacent property, and more. No matter how many controls you implement to reduce the chance of a construction-related accident occurring, it’s difficult to account for every potential outcome. That is why contractors in Texas are required to have general liability insurance. Severe accidents can lead to costly claims that quickly top-off your limit. When this happens, an umbrella insurance policy can help you bridge the gap and reduce the financial blow your business takes.

Commercial Auto

Contractors that commute back and forth from the project site can insure their vehicle with commercial auto insurance to protect themselves against a variety of claims. Accidents involving automobiles happen all the time and can be very expensive. Your vehicle could be damaged entering or exiting the project site. 

The wear and tear your vehicle takes won’t be “normal” by traditional automobile consumer standards, and the hazards of the project site will pose a constant threat to your vehicle. You can also opt to increase the policy limit for a hired and non-owned auto policy in lieu of commercial auto if you do not own your work vehicles.

For some contractors, an umbrella insurance policy might be the best way to protect business assets while protecting personal assets from having to pay out when your policy has gaps in coverage. Umbrella insurance is sold in one-million dollar increments to protect contractors who are pulling in significant revenue, but the cost of umbrella insurance can be relatively affordable.

Before you change your company’s insurance policy, consult a Houston contractor attorney to ensure that your business is compliant with all state regulations regarding insurance and licensing for contractors in Texas.

If you would like to speak with one of our Houston contractor attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.