Construction Law Articles

Our Newsletters

For almost 20 years, our clients and friends have been receiving and enjoying the print edition of our newsletter, “Plumb Law”. The legal information is straight, or plumb, and we know it is appreciated.

We have added “Plumb Law On-Line” to our publication schedule, and expect that most future editions of Plumb Law will be in that format. If you would like to receive them, please sign up. Some earlier print editions are linked, below.

Construction Lien Law Revisions

Effective 2011, New Jersey modified a whole host of rights involving mechanics liens for its private construction projects, and in the process, the construction industry lost some of the gains it had previously made. Learn more about the practical effect the changes had on you in this special edition. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 61

Contractors Beware…Here’s Where

“Contractors Beware…Here’s Where”: Construction law strictly enforces a lot of tough contract terms, and some of the particularly dangerous ones are covered here. Also, we summarize major changes to New Jersey’s new construction law statutes for 2010. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 60

The Prompt Payment Act

A special issue dedicated to New Jersey’s new Prompt Payment Act, it lays out all the basics, provides a table to compare the three different New Jersey “prompt payment” laws, and has a bonus article on the Federal Prompt Payment Act. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 55

Dirty Contract Words

Construction contracts can be so hard to read that their perils are often ignored for the sake of getting some work. The lead article gives you “dirty contract words” which are often used in contracts to mark where the ugly stuff is hidden. New case summaries and news about a public bidding database are also reviewed. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 62

Endangered Bankruptcy Claims

Don’t read this article if you want to learn about bankruptcy law. But if you have ever lost money because of someone else’s bankruptcy, or could do so, here are some construction-related tips to protect your rights and keep you out of legal “hot water.” The focus here is on “Chapter 11”, or business reorganization bankruptcies. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 47

Beat It! You’re Off the Project!

It’s painful, it’s incurable, and it’s expensive—a default termination has all the symptoms of a fatal illness. You might loathe the subject of this article, but one day, it may mean the difference between a real business killer and the financial equivalent of a post-nasal drip. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 54

Press ’em for Payment!

Times are tough, so stalling has become an art form. Here are typical “legal” excuses which are used to delay a payment and what you can do to respond to them. This issue also includes an extended discussion of a major public bidding case and other construction law decisions of note. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 58

Watch Me Pull A Contract Out of My Hat!

“Why can’t I ever use those legal tricks on my cases?” You can—once you understand some legal technicalities and learn how to set the facts up in your favor. “Promissory estoppel” is a particularly useful bit of arcane law because it can be used to essentially create or extend a contract’s reach to unsuspecting parties. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 51

Venomous Additions to the New General Conditions For 2017

The Bite from a bad contract can cripple your company, but you may not feel the effect until far too late. One toxin comes packaged in the latest gift from the American Institute of Architects, the General Conditions of Construction or A201-2017. Here are some “street-level” concerns; you can read up on the promotion about the new “Digital Data Protocols” and insurance checklist elsewhere. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 46

Is Arbitration Overhyped?

“Faster, cheaper, fairer” were the words which rang in every lawyer’s and contractor’s ears when arbitration was first ballyhooed as a great alternative to lawsuits. But after some contractors suffered from seemingly endless arbitration delays, high fees and insane results, they now avoid arbitration like the plague. That’s an overreaction, but when “picking your poison” between arbitration and litigation, remember that the wrong choice can be expensive. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 52

Fighting with the Bonding Company-Or Against it?

Paperwork stinks, no doubt about it. But if you want to collect against a payment bond, the law is tough. Timely and properly complete your paperwork or you can easily lose your claim. Before you even start a project, there are two legal questions which must be answered: (1) is the project for a public work governed by a specific bond law, and (2) what does the bond actually say? Th is is because bond law, or “suretyship”, provides that a bond’s language must be strictly followed. Nevetheless, language can be overridden by state or Federal law. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 49

Where do I file a Construction Lien for Pearly Gate work?

The law is easy; it’s the facts that can kill you. Construction liens must be filed against the correct property to be effective, but finding the actual property can be more difficult than you may think. Outside services won’t help: they find “lot and block” property information based on the property you identify. Furthermore, if you mistakenly pick the wrong property, the mistake may make you liable for damages to the wrongly “liened” property owner under a legal theory called “slander of title”. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 48

The Galloping Gertie Award

What do words like “corruption”, “waste”, “public contracts”, and “school construction” have in common? While the answer was in virtually every New Jersey newspaper last year, their relationship apparently escaped the attention of the judges who authored the opinion in William Scotsman, Inc. v. The Garfield Board of Education. For the court’s failure to realize why public bidding is so important, and how it helps the construction industry as well as the taxpaying public, this opinion clearly earns a richly deserved Galloping Gertie Award for the worst analyzed New Jersey construction law case of the past year. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 53

A Bad Egg: The AIA’s New General Conditions For 2007

After 10 years in incubation, the American Institute of Architects has released its latest set of construction documents. With the A201, or “General Conditions of Construction”, the AIA just laid an egg. Its big changes are not worth much, its little changes do not amount to much, and the AIA “chickened out” on an opportunity to lead for still another 10 years. Click here for Plumb Law Issue 50