Construction contracts are a big part of my legal practice and the drumbeat here at Construction Law Musings. Why? Because not only does your construction contract set the expectations and “rules of the game” for a construction project, it will be read strictly and literally by the Virginia courts should there be a dispute. For these reasons, construction professionals need to be alert for the language in certain key clauses in a construction contract to assure that these clauses are as balanced as possible and also well understood. Here are my “Top Five”:
- “Pay if Paid”- These clauses are almost always in the subcontracts between a general contractor and a subcontractor and are enforceable in Virginia if drafted correctly and under the proper circumstances.
- Change Orders- Whether work is subject to a change order and the required payment for any changed work are often a key source of contention (read legal fees). A properly drafted and followed change order provision can help avoid much of this contention.
- Indemnity- Much has been made in recent years about indemnity provisions and their enforceability. All parties in the construction payment chain can and should be aware of how to best draft their indemnity provisions to make them enforceable. Failure to do so can be catastrophic.