Types of Legal Work Performed During a Construction Project

Every construction project involves legal work that you are required to complete. Construction companies must be well-versed in the type of legal work that needs to be done to finish a project. Failing to meet the guidelines could result in serious problems, such as projects being stopped or the final work being restricted until the legal work is complete. If you need any assistance navigating the unique laws that apply to the construction industry, including retainage, mechanic’s lien, and prompt payment laws, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Houston contractor attorney from Cotney Construction Law.


One of the earliest legal processes that need to be completed is the acquisition of permits. Contractors need work permits to complete specific stages of a project. For example, all electrical work must be permitted prior to the start of the work. Permits are designed to create a checks and balance system. That way, every contractor that does work in an area has their work reviewed to avoid problems because of faulty construction. 

Related: An Overview Of Building Permits


Inspections are also a part of the legal process and are mandated for many parts of projects. Inspections often happen right after a specific part of the construction project is finished. That way, the inspector can get a good look at the work before moving on to the next phase of construction. Failing to complete an inspection can stop your project in a second and force you to redo a lot of work so that the inspector can see what he or she needs to see. Inspections happen throughout the project, so it is important to know when and what needs to be inspected. 

Contract Negotiations

Contract negotiations are one of the earliest legal processes in a construction project, although contracts can be negotiated throughout. Before any work is done, there should be a signed contract detailing the work and other important terms. 

Construction companies must take contract negotiations seriously since they can impact the rest of the project. Contracts determine who is paid, how much they are paid, when they are paid, what work must be done, and (most importantly) how contract disputes are handled. Setting up good terms early in the process can alleviate a lot of problems later. This is why many companies rely on Houston construction lawyers to help them write their contracts.

New contracts are added throughout construction projects as new subcontractors are added to the team. Each subcontractor needs a contract for the same reasons that a contractor does. There are also cases where contracts need to be amended. How you handle this process is just as important as how you negotiated the initial contract. 

Related: Practical Contract Negotiation Advice for Construction Contractors

Employee Processes

Some of the legal work for a construction project is internal. Worker’s compensation programs, OSHA safety regulations, and other internal programs are essential to keeping a construction company running without problems. In some cases, your company is legally mandated to have these programs in place. Failing to do so can lead to a lot of fines and other problems. 

In another context, you want to have these programs in place because they make employees happier and safer. Much of the internal legal work focuses on managing employees. Payroll, hiring, training, maintaining safety equipment, and other actions are all things that employees want in their companies. By focusing on improving your internal legal operations, you may be able to improve your relationship with your employees. 

Liens and Defects 

Construction projects can experience legal problems even after they are finished. Liens and defects can require legal work to resolve, and they cannot be ignored or left without being handled. Liens are particularly troublesome since they can affect the end of a project in a major way. The property may not be used or sold until the lien is addressed. 

Defects can create a problem with liability. Construction companies can be held liable for construction defects long after the project has been completed. Unless you have a solid contract that addresses defects, you may be required to spend more time and effort trying to deal with a defect than you may normally have to. 

Related: 5 Tips for Avoiding Construction Defect Litigation

Legal Defense Processes

Perhaps the most noteworthy of the construction legal processes is the legal defense process. There are times where a construction company needs legal assistance in dealing with a problem. Companies can face legal issues for a variety of reasons. Liens, for example, can create a lot of problems until they are resolved. OSHA violations are the same way.

Dealing with regulations can be especially troublesome. OSHA and other regulatory agencies may charge your company a violation, which may impact how your company operates in the future. There are cases where you may even lose your license. Taking legal action may be the only way that you can stop this from happening. Having a Houston contractor lawyer to represent you when legal problems arise can help you protect your company. There are many instances where this is possible. For example, you can file appeals with OSHA, which may help you get rid of the violation that you were charged with. A Houston construction lawyer can also fight to help you keep your license. 

There are many types of legal work that need to be done in a construction project. Your project managers are responsible for making sure that all of this legal work is completed in a timely and appropriate manner. If you have questions about the legal work that your construction project requires, contact a Houston contractor attorney from Cotney Construction 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.