Contract Negotiation and Drafting:
The success of any construction project is predicated on the contract formation between the parties as the foundation for their relationship. A good construction contract should include certain aspects regarding payment, retainage, scheduling, a clear scope of work, and a good arbitration clause. The firm has specialized in drafting contracts for General Contractors, Subcontractors and Owners for many years. We also review contracts that are submitted to our clients by third parties.
Mechanic’s Lien Claims:
The best tool a Contractor has to ensure payment is to properly record a Mechanic’s Lien against the Project. It is a multi-step process that requires a thorough knowledge and understanding of the procedure. The firm has specialized in Rhode Island Mechanic’s Lien Law and Massachusetts Mechanic’s Lien Law for over thirty (30) years. The process is different in every state and, therefore, a Contractor should be well-advised on the steps necessary to properly perfect a Mechanic’s Lien Claim.
Mediation and Arbitration:
Any good construction contract should always include a mediation/arbitration clause. Mediation is a non-binding process where the parties agree to attempt resolution with the assistance of a third-party neutral. The third-party neutral’s position is not binding. If the mediation process is unsuccessful, the parties can then proceed to arbitration, where they choose a third party who hears testimony, evidence and receives exhibits, and decides the dispute. The Arbitrator’s decision is binding. The arbitration process is considerably faster and less expensive than traditional litigation in the Superior Court. It is always preferable to submit to mediation/arbitration rather than to litigate it in the Court system.
For any Contractor who works on public projects, it is important to comply with the Invitation to Bid as issued by the Awarding Authority. Often, disputes arise regarding whether the low-bidder has actually submitted a bid which is responsive. You will need someone who can advise you on meeting the requirements of the Invitation to Bid and whether a proposed challenge to a low-bidder has merit. All Bid Protests originate with the Awarding Authority, and then to the Superior Court for review on the merits of whether or not the low-bid should be accepted.
No Contractor can file a Mechanic’s Lien Claim against a project which is owned by a municipality, state or the federal government. Those projects are immune from Mechanic’s Liens. The state and federal law, however, requires Contractors who act as a General Contractor on a publicly-owned project to provide a Labor and Material Payment Bond to ensure that Subcontractors are paid. In the event you are on such a project, it is imperative that you comply with the requirements of the statute governing the state or federal project, as well as providing proper notification to the bonding company. The Bond provides a guarantee that Subcontractors who provide labor and material to a project will be promptly paid.