Castro & Associates Construction Trial Lawyers

Los Angeles California Construction Law Blog

Taking action after a bad flooring installation by subcontractors

As a developer, residential construction company or architect, you have a reputation that brings clients to you and helps you build your career. Unfortunately, the subcontractors and suppliers you work with can have a direct, negative impact on customer satisfaction and your overall business reputation.

Construction defects, particularly in areas that are perceived as high-value and high-cost, such as flooring, could lead to a loss of business or serious damage to your credibility and reputation as a professional.

What is the cause of disputes in the construction industry?

The construction industry in California is an integral part of the economy and incorporates the involvement of several entities that work together to complete complex projects and buildings. Without contracts in place to fortify agreements and clarify details of your involvement with other construction professionals, you are at a much higher risk of experiencing debilitating disagreements. 

In your efforts to strengthen your contracts and create customized agreements that adhere to the unique risks of the projects you are involved in; you can reduce the chances that a dispute will prevent you from achieving a successful output. According to Construction Executive, some of the most common reasons why you may experience a dispute include when there are untimely delays with no real reason for their occurrence. Another reason is if the other party is claiming you have failed to uphold an agreement, but they do not have sufficient evidence to support their claim.  If no one is actively enforcing the contract or if you or the other party are misinterpreting the meaning of specific clauses, both of those factors could set the foundation for a dispute later on. 

Construction company sues schools district over unpaid work

There are many complexities that can go into managing a large construction project in Los Angeles, yet most might assume that the payment of the parties involved would not be one of them. Indeed, such a process might seem fairly simple: a contractor completes the work it has promised to do as per the terms of the agreement, and the beneficiary of the work pays for them. Yet in many cases, matters may not be that simple. One side of a contract may feel that it is justified in withholding payment, while the other might argue that it has strictly adhered to its terms of the arrangement. 

A recent lawsuit in South Carolina sees one side voicing the latter, while the other has remained silent on the matter. A Georgia-based construction company claims that it has completed the work that it was contracted to due for a local school district in building a new performing arts school, yet says it is still owed close to $6 million by the district. In its lawsuit, the company claims that the district asked that the terms of their contract be modified multiple times, and that it was uncooperative during the entire process, causing the project to suffer delays. Still, the company claims to have completed the work according to the district's specifications. Yet when the district brought in an outside firm to manage the project, the construction company's representatives claim they stopped receiving payments

What to know about a builder warranty

If you are buying a new home in California, there is a good chance it is under builder warranty. While this may sound great, it is important to understand the limitations of this type of warranty, such as what it covers and the length of the warranty. 

According to, a builder warranty is different from a home warranty. The home buyer is the one who purchases a home warranty, and it covers not only new homes but also older ones. This is the type of warranty that covers household systems and appliances, while a builder warranty covers the workmanship and materials of the home. A warranty will vary from one builder to another, but common coverages include:

  • Foundation, floors, siding and roofing
  • HVAC, plumbing, electrical and septic systems
  • Insulation
  • Windows, doors and glass
  • Landscaping
  • Carpentry 

Make sure your contractor is bonded, licensed and insured

Construction issues in California are common, and to prevent disruptions or financial loss, it is important that construction companies and contractors have the proper protections against liability. When a company says it is bonded, licensed and insured, this shows they have gone through the regulatory hoops. This also makes them more credible, especially for larger projects. 

According to The Chron, there are numerous licenses a contractor or construction company must have in order to run a business. There are professional licenses that the state approves based on certain requirements and qualifications, and there are trade licenses that contractors must have to perform certain jobs. There may also be specific licensing requirements by the city or work zones. Someone hiring for a project can look up these license numbers to find out the history of performance.

New home construction can result in a variety of plumbing problems

When moving into a new home, you expect everything to work as intended. While this may happen, it's possible that you will run into a few problems soon after taking up residence.

New construction homes are prone to a variety of plumbing problems, many of which can damage your home.

Do not skip the home inspection

Home buyers in California may think that a home inspection is optional when buying a house. While this is true, the experts strongly warn against skipping this step. While potential homeowners may think it is not worth spending the money, it can save lots of money and headaches later on if they discover a defect or problem after finalization of the sale.

According to Investopedia, there are very few reasons why a buyer should forgo an inspection, as it is the best way to discover major problems with the property before entering into an important contract. If there is a contingency in place, the buyer can walk away from the sale without paying any penalties if something is significantly wrong. For new property, the inspector will typically check out the foundation and structure before the build out, and then do a complete inspection after completion. For other homes, an inspection typically includes:

  • Exterior structures such as walls, garage and roof
  • Interior systems such as electrical, plumbing, and HVAC
  • Interior structures like appliances, bathroom fixtures, smoke detectors and ventilation fans

Design mistakes can be costly

Construction projects in California can entail intricate designs on a huge scale. They may encompass several acres of land and employ hundreds of people. Large jobs can take years to complete and use significant capital. Disputes can impact the total cost and whether you, as the owner, complete the undertaking. At Castro & Associates, we specialize in contract disputes involving complex residential and commercial construction.

According to the Construction Specifier, contract errors and omissions occur on virtually every project. The more complicated the undertaking, the more likely that issues arise. There are several different types of design mistakes that can affect the project timelines.

Do you need builders risk insurance?

If you are building a home in California, part of the process may involve figuring out how to stay within your budget. You may try to decide whether builders risk insurance is a necessary expense. In many cases, it depends on the circumstances and specifics of your building project. While a builders risk insurance policy may be extremely important when you are building a home from the ground up, you may not need this type of coverage for a small home renovation project, such as remodeling your kitchen.

According to the International Risk Management Institute, Inc., a builders risk insurance policy generally covers property during the course of construction. If you decide to purchase this type of policy, the terms of the coverage may vary slightly between different insurance providers. However, most policies cover damage to your property from fire or wind. It is also common to provide coverage against the theft of building materials and tools. Some policies may only cover risks that exist on your property and building site. If your project requires having building materials shipped to you from other locations, you may be able to find a policy that covers items during storage and transit.

Dealing with stress due to an insurance dispute

Legal issues involving insurance coverage can be confusing, and they can also be very stressful when a claim is denied or a business owner faces challenges due to claims that they were not covered. These disputes can not only lead to litigation, but the outcome of a dispute could have a significant impact on an individual's finances as well as a business' future. For many people in this position, life can become unbearably stressful. Worse yet, this stress can get in the way of handling a dispute properly and lead to other challenges.

It is important to manage stress appropriately if you are in this position. You may benefit from finding an outdoor activity that allows you to mentally detach, or you could benefit from gaining a clearer understanding of your legal options. If you have a better idea of what to expect during and after an insurance dispute, you may be able to reduce your anxiety levels and work toward a brighter future.

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