Construction Law

Construction Law

We represent both contractors and property owners in all phases of the construction process as follows:

Construction Contracts: Capturing Expectations

A successful construction project starts with a good contract, one that carefully spells out all the expectations of the parties. Most disputes arise out of the failure of either the owner or the contractor or both to carefully think through all phases of the project, documenting in detail the expectations of the owner and establishing firm deadlines and a payment schedule that keeps the project on time and on budget.

Home Improvement Contracts

In California there are many laws that are in place to protect the public from inept or unscrupulous contractors. Some of the requirements are:

  • All contracts more than $500 must be in writing.
  • The contract must be clear and understandable.
  • The up-front deposit cannot exceed 10% of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less, unless the contractor has on file a special blanket performance and payment bond.
  • The contract must include a start date and a completion date.
  • The periodic payment schedule must be based on clearly defined benchmarks.
  • The contract must include a 3-day right of cancellation (unless it’s an emergency service or repair).
  • The contract must include a notice to the owner about the mechanic lien laws that will apply to the project.

Mechanic’s Liens

The contractor may be entitled to record a lien on your property and enforce it in court; but in order to be enforceable, the requirements are strict and must be followed exactly. We represent both contractors and owners in enforcing and defending against mechanic’s liens.

Stop Notices

Stop notices are issued to prevent the payment of funds by the lender until after a dispute is resolved. The requirements for the availability and enforceability of a stop notice are strictly construed and must be followed exactly.  We represent contractors, subcontractors and owners in issuing, enforcing, and defending against stop notices.

Construction Disputes

It is not unusual for disputes to arise among the owner, contractor, subcontractors and suppliers on a project. At Johnston | Thomas, we are committed to attempting to resolve disputes as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, if litigation becomes necessary, we vigorously represent the rights of our clients.