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Construction Law Archives

Massachusetts Contractor May Be Liable for Building Code Violation at Owner's Request

Massachusetts law protects homeowners from contractors who violate the safety provisions of the building code.  Unfortunately, meeting safety requirements can add to the expense of a construction or home improvement project.  Homeowners may sometimes ask contractors to cut corners to lower the cost of the project.  The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently considered whether a conblog-img3.jpgtractor could use the homeowners' instructions as a defense to liability for violating a building code requirement in the case of Downey v. Chutehall Construction Co.

Massachusetts Contractor May Be Liable for Building Code Violation at Owner's Request

Massachusetts law protects homeowners from contractors who violate the safety provisions of the building code. Unfortunately, meeting safety requirements can add to the expense of a construction or home improvement project. Homeowners may sometimes ask contractors to cut corners to lower the cost of the project. The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently considered whether a contractor could use the homeowners' instructions as a defense to liability for violating a building code requirement in the case of Downey v. Chutehall Construction Co.

District Court of Massachusetts Finds General Liability Policy Doesn't Cover Injury to Sub-Subcontractor Employee

It is important for any business to be appropriately insured against loss and liability. A failure to have sufficient insurance can result in the business paying for not only the damages but also the expenses of litigation out-of-pocket. 

Equitable Adjustments in Massachusetts Public Construction Contracts

Sometimes businesses must bid on jobs and sign contracts while there is still some level of uncertainty regarding the extent of work that must be performed and how much it will cost. Massachusetts law allows a contractor entering a public contract to ask for an equitable adjustment if the actual conditions are materially or substantially different from what was stated in the plans or contract documents. In a recent case, the Massachusetts Appeals Court decided what happens when a contractor underbids a unit price based on an assumption of the total amount of units involved. 

Strict Prevailing Wage Laws Can Equal Costly Mistakes

Recently, the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed that the Massachusetts prevailing wage statute is a strict liability statute and mistake or clerical error is no defense. This means that the intent of the company is not a factor in determining liability. The decision in Lighthouse Masonry, Inc., et al. v. Division of Administrative Law Appeals, et al. is a stern reminder to contractors and subcontractors throughout Massachusetts working on public jobs to be meticulous with payroll on prevailing wage jobs.

Home Improvement Contractors Beware: Your Arbitration Clause May Be In Peril

Does your arbitration clause comply with Massachusetts' Home Improvement Contractor statute? If not, you may find yourself precluded from arbitration. Home Improvement Contractors should review their standard contract terms, specifically any terms regarding arbitration in light of the Massachusetts Appeals Court's ruling this month in Mamaril, et al. v. Keller, et al.

Appeals Court Eases the Restriction on Condominium Associations to Bring Construction Defect Claims Against Contractors and Developers

In a significant opinion, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has made it easier for condominium associations to recover for common area construction defects. In Wyman v. Ayer Properties, LLC, the Appeals Court held that the economic loss doctrine did not preclude a condo association's negligent construction claim.

Specially Fabricated Goods: The Fabricator's Rights to Lien

Recently, we have seen an increase in the number of purchasers of specially fabricated goods after the goods have been fabricated refuse delivery of the order and/or abscond without paying leaving many fabricators of these specialized goods wondering what their rights and remedies for security and to seek payment under the law especially if these goods are never incorporated into the construction project. 

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