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Massachusetts Construction Law

Construction companies need to be aware of state regulations

A previous post on this blog offered an overview of some basic Massachusetts wage and hour laws, including laws about minimum wage. It is indeed important for employers in the construction industry to be aware of these laws, as not following them can land an employer in legal hot water.

Likewise, employers need to be familiar with the regulations that state agencies, specifically the Department of Labor Standards, issue in order to flesh out these laws and give them their intended effect. Unless legally invalidated, these regulations have the force of law, and a company can face liability for violating them.

What is my request for equitable adjustment gets denied?

This blog has previously talked about how contractors on public projects can request an equitable adjustment under certain circumstances. For example, a contractor may run in to unanticipated expenses that are not their fault, issues that affect the ability to get the project done or the government's need for a tighter timetable.

Even when a contractor feels it has good cause to ask and has prepared a through application, a government agency is free to deny requests for equitable adjustments. The government may, for instance, disagree that the project has change significantly and thus not feel extra compensation is warranted.

The benefits of mediation in a construction dispute

Facing a construction dispute, whether due to a broken contract, payment issues, unforeseen changes in the project or more, can be distressing. While this blog previously discussed the prevalence of arbitration in Massachusetts construction disputes, mediation is another suitable alternative to litigation in seeking a solution to a conflict.

Both parties may agree on mediation in a contract ahead of time as a preferred method to resolve a dispute. As an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) technique, mediation involves a more collaborative, efficient approach to resolve a dispute and can ideally preserve the business relationship along the way.

We handle common and less common construction disputes

Construction disputes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but any one of them can turn a business's investment in a construction project in to a financial disaster.

For instance, in pervious posts, we've talked about how sometimes a business affiliate on a construction project goes bankrupt or otherwise cannot pay its bills in timely fashion. In these situations, a contractor, subcontractor, owner or the like may need help collecting their debt. This will often require some legal assistance.

Some basic Massachusetts wage and hour laws

Like other states, Massachusetts has minimum wage laws. Again like many other states, the minimum wage in this state is actually higher than what is required under federal law, at $12 an hour. The minimum wage will increase to $12.75 an hour in 2020.

It may seem fairly simple for employers to calculate, and pay, an employee's minimum wage, or, for that matter, whatever the workers' hourly wages may be. However, there are actually some nuances that employers will want to keep in mind.

Overview of collecting via the bankruptcy process

In many cases, a business in the construction industry will face a situation in which a business partner, like a contractor or a developer, winds up in financial trouble and thus is unable to pay its bills.

While this blog has discussed several options a business may have in this sort of situation, those who work in construction in Massachusetts should also be aware that they may, in these circumstances, get formal word that a business or individual which owes them money has filed for bankruptcy protection.

What should I include in my request for an equitable adjustment?

Previous posts on this blog have talked about how construction firms working on federal projects can submit what is called a request for an equitable adjustment.

Requests for equitable adjustments are useful in situations where the government's actions or omissions with respect to the project wind up costing the contractor money that the contractor did not and could not have anticipated at the time of making the original bid. If a request is granted, then the government will, in the interest of fairness, allow the contractor to charge extra for its additional expense.

Assistance litigating or arbitrating a contract issue

A previous post on this blog talked about how many disputes about Massachusetts construction contracts wind up in arbitration. As that post explained, arbitration is a relatively informal process by which those involved in the construction industry can resolve their disputes efficiently.

Indeed, sometimes arbitration makes a lot more sense than going to court. On one hand, there are many important disputes that are, thankfully, either of a low value in terms of dollars or are fairly straightforward matters. Taking such issues to court can create unnecessary expense in terms of both legal fees and time in court.

Arbitration often gets used in construction disputes

In many construction contracts, the parties involved, including the property owner, the general contractor and subcontractors, will agree to submit any legal disputes they have to arbitration.

The idea behind their doing so is to cut down on the costs of filing suit every time someone involved in a big construction project disagrees with another party's decisions. Moreover, arbitration also allows the parties to come to a decision relatively quickly so that the construction project can stay on track.

More on the direct payment option for public contracts

Many subcontractors in Massachusetts do work on construction projects for property owned by a state or local government or agency. These public works projects can be lucrative for a number of reasons.

For instance, as previous posts on this blog have mentioned, subcontractors working on certain public projects enjoy some additional protection should the general contractor not pay what it owes the subcontractor for the subcontractor's work.

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