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The Critical Path: California Construction Law Blog

Eliminating Inconsistencies in California Construction Contracts

One of the biggest challenges for a general contractor on any major construction project is eliminating the inconsistencies that can arise in the numerous contracts that are needed for performance of the work. It is critical that these issues are identified and resolved prior to contract formation, as conflict in the contract documents is often what drives construction litigation.

California Building Design License Requirements

I have been contacted recently by a number of out of state contractor and design firms looking for guidance on California's building design licensure requirements as they seek to cash in on California's recent surge in construction spending. Since the applicable statutes can be more than difficult to find, navigate and digest, I have prepared the following summary that should provide those interested with some quick answers.

With California Construction Booming, Are Lawsuits Looming?

Construction employment in the state of California is predicted to rise by 5.6 percent this year and 6.3 percent in 2016, after 35,700 construction jobs were added in 2014. Already, shortages of skilled workers- such as equipment operators, carpenters, project managers and supervisors-are being reported.

Contractors Take Note: Title 24 Energy Code Requirements Have Changed!

The most recent changes to California's Building Energy Efficiency Standards, commonly known as Title 24 Requirements, which took effect on July 1, 2014, focus on performance-based, energy-efficient design and include requirements for a design team to complete a commissioning plan before building begins.  

Off-the-Books Laborers Expose California Contractors to Severe Penalties

In California, the number of off-the-books and misclassified laborers has increased a dramatic 400% since 1972; likely the result of contractors' willingness to tap the fringes for cheaper labor in an effort to keep project costs to a minimum and maximize profits.  Of the nearly 900,000 construction workers in California, 143,900 workers provide off-the-books labor and another 39,800 are misclassified by their employer as independent contractors.  

Bulletin: California Public Works Contractors and Subcontractors Must Register!

Summary: Public works contractors and subcontractors take note- a new law requires you to register with the California Department of Industrial Relations as of July 1, 2014, even if your current public works project is already underway.  Failure to register disqualifies you from the bidding and contracting process, can cause an outright bid rejection and/or contract cancellation and can void or cancel an existing contract.  

Contractors, Architects and Owners Beware: Beacon Residential creates a duty of care by architects to homeowners associations

On July 3rd in Beacon Residential Community Assn v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (Case No. S208173) the California Supreme Court confirmed that construction design professionals owe a duty of care to third party property purchasers who did not hire or contract with the professionals. This landmark decision is a game-changer for owners, architects and contractors alike, as liability for design and defect issues now directly impacts architects and may lead to added construction costs.

The Importance of an Effective Force Majeure Clause

Those engaged in construction or other closely related fields know that the wording of a contract can make or break your entire business. Some contractors will create their own agreements to bind themselves and clients together while some will utilize a standard industry form contract purchased from a third party. Either of the scenarios can yield unfavorable results if due care isn't taken in ensuring that certain clauses are included and are written correctly.

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