Construction law is a broad area of law that pertains to improvements made to real property. It is a mix of a variety of legal areas including contract law, planning and zoning, lien law, insurance law, administrative law, and unintentional torts.
Common Construction Law Issues
The most common construction law issues are debt collection and construction defect issues. Debt collection in construction law is often tied to mechanic’s lien issues (which are more complicated in Utah than in many other states, due in part to a stringent preliminary filing system). Frequently, a sub-contractor may try to collect a debt from a property owner and general contractor, even though the property owner may already have paid the general contractor for the sub-contractor’s work.
Construction defect cases usually involve a party in privity of contract who is trying to recover the cost to repair faulty construction and the cost to repair damage caused by the faulty construction. Construction defect litigation is often the focus of a subrogation claim.
Handling Construction Law Disputes
Most construction law litigation is based on a contract, so the relevant contracts should be reviewed to determine the proper course of action. Of particular concern in construction law matters is that construction law contracts often contain conditions precedent or deadlines that have to be met in order for a claim to be properly brought (Utah law allows more leeway for a contract to set deadlines in construction defect matters than in most other legal matters).
Construction law cases may involve administrative remedies such as lien recovery fund filings and claims against licenses through the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.