Fullerton & Knowles Construction Law, attorneys, lawyers, law firm

Attorneys and Counselors at Law in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia
Martindale Hubbell Peer Rated AV® Preeminent™ Law Firm

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At Fullerton & Knowles, P.C., our construction attorneys handle a broad range of contract creation and contract formation matters, construction disputes, and claims related to or arising out of construction contracts, including terminations, back charges and off sets, change orders, design defects, delays, and extensive experience in mechanic's lien litigation.

We advise and protect the rights of commercial and residential owners, banks and other lenders, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals and suppliers regarding the following issues:

  • Construction contract drafting and negotiation, including custom modification of AIA, AGC, and Consensus form contracts and general conditions to comply with Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and District of Columbia Law
  • Workmanship, Building Code violation, Breach of Contract, and other performance disputes
  • Change order and extra work disputes
  • Claims regarding failure to provide enough information, or plans that are not clear or complete
  • Claims another party delayed or wrongfully interfered with the progress of work on a project
  • Scheduling issues
  • Unknown or undiscovered defects or unforeseen conditions
  • Termination of the contract by the owner or contractor for cause or termination for convenience
  • Termination of the contract or suspension of work by a contractor for cause or due to non-payment
  • Subcontracts and subcontractor disputes
  • Construction lien disputes
  • Mechanics lien claims
  • Materialmen's Liens
  • Payment bond claims
  • Contractor Performance Bonds
  • Construction cost disputes, construction cost accounting, and audits
  • Liquidated damages and consequential damage claims, lost profits
  • Inefficiency claims, impact claims, acceleration claims and delay claims
  • Schedule and time impact analysis, productivity analysis
  • Change order and claim development
  • Claims analysis and prosecution
  • Implied Duty Not to Actively Interfere with Performance or to Hinder or Delay Performance
  • Implied Duty Not to Prevent Performance
  • Implied Duty to Adequately Coordinate Work of Subcontractors
  • Implied Duty to Provide Adequate Supervision
  • Implied Duty to Carry Out Bargain Reasonably and in Good Faith
  • Implied Duty to Cooperate
  • Implied Warranty of Plans and Specifications
  • Implied Duty to Disclose Material Facts
  • Prompt payment statutes, failure to pay disputes, and collection of money due
  • Construction loans
  • Architect, engineer and design professional agreements and disputes
  • Design/build contracts
  • Defects in construction work and material defects
  • Design defects in construction plans and specifications
  • Unlicensed contractors
  • Contracts and disputes with architects and other design professionals
  • Copyright Infringement in architectural drawings or plans, shop drawings, unauthorized use of drawings or plans
  • Builders Risk Insurance, Liability Insurance, and Surety bond issues and claims
  • Construction Arbitration
  • Construction Litigation
  • Construction Mediation
  • Dispute review boards
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Construction Workouts
  • Construction Claims
  • Construction Contracts
  • Construction and Design Law
  • Construction Finance
  • Construction Liens

Our construction lawyers protect the interest of owners, banks and other lenders, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals and suppliers in disputes in private commercial and residential construction projects.

If you are a commercial and residential owner, lender, contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional involved in contract planning, contract negotiations, an on-going construction project, or in a dispute regarding the construction of a project, you want an experienced lawyer to protect your interests. You want an advocate who knows the law and has worked in construction for years, who understands strategy and has successfully helped others in similar circumstances.

Fullerton & Knowles, P.C. construction attorneys can help clients avoid or minimize the costs of construction claims, construction defects and other construction disputes. All parties are typically better off if they can work together and find solutions to complete a project. Construction projects often result in disputes despite our best efforts. Delays can have a major impact on a project budget. Defects in plans and specifications can cause delays, asserted change orders and disputes.

Fullerton & Knowles, P.C. construction attorneys can help owners and contractors determine whether problems are caused by a defect in plans and specifications or faulty workmanship. What if the project is delayed, material costs increase or there is an idle production facility? What are Compensable and Non-compensable Delays? What is the effect of a “No Damage for Delay” clause?

All construction clients must understand “Conduit” or “Pass Through” Provisions and their affect on risk allocation. What is the difference between a “Pay when Paid” and a “Pay if Paid” Clause? How will this affect the timing of payment or whether there will be any payment? Clients must know how to use Change Orders and Claims Procedures to assert or protect themselves from delay and liquidated damage claims and receive equitable adjustments or additional compensation for delay, design defects or changes on a project.

In addition to “claims” procedures to collect additional money, contractors must understand the risk of back charges for delays or defects in labor or materials supplied, protect against liquidated damages by properly requesting extensions of time for events out of their control.

Owners and contractors must understand how to properly terminate a contract to preserve the right to supplement and protect the costs of completion. Fullerton & Knowles, P.C. regularly assists clients in terminations for convenience, terminations for default, wrongful terminations, and rightful terminations. These distinctions can determine whether an owner or contractor can back charge or off set against the terminated contractor for costs of completion, correction of defects, and delay damages.

Suppliers and contractors in the construction industry have the advantage of secured creditor status, as long as mechanic’s lien rights are carefully preserved. Even minor failure to follow the rules will leave you unsecured. True mechanic’s lien litigation is a “Battle between Innocents” in which innocent suppliers, contractors, owners, institutional lenders and other creditors of the debtor will actively contest and litigate the validity of the mechanic’s lien. Successfully preserving your rights will establish your priority over other innocent creditors of the insolvent customer.

Many mechanic’s lien principles are similar in most states. A few core principles do vary, with dramatic differences in result. Virginia Residential projects have a “prefiling” requirement before delivery of labor or material. The client will have no opportunity at security if this procedure is missed early in the project. All states require some action shortly after delivery. In Virginia, claimants must file a memorandum of mechanic’s lien in the land records as soon as ninety (90) days after last work. In the District of Columbia, claimants can file their memorandum of mechanic’s lien in the land records ninety (90) days after the entire project is complete. In Maryland, remote claimants send the owner a notice of intent to lien one hundred twenty (120) days after last work. In Pennsylvania, all claimants must file a lien claim within six (6) months of last work, but subcontractors must also serve a formal notice on the owner at least thirty (30) days before that. How do you know when work is complete? How do you “trace” your materials to particular properties and allocate the amount of each lien between multiple parcels of land?

Does it matter whether your customer has been paid on the project? Remote Contractors must know which states have a “defense of payment,” requiring the owner or general contractor to pay for a project only once. In Virginia and the District of Columbia, the owner need pay for the project only once. In Maryland, owners carry the risk to make sure all labor and material vendors have been paid. Whether or not your lien is valid, the “priority” of your lien compared to other claimants can often determine whether you get paid. This “priority” varies greatly between the Mid-Atlantic states. What if a debtor files bankruptcy or the property is sold? This is also a question of lien “priority.”

Contractors and suppliers must also understand common problems with mechanic’s lien waivers and how to avoid inadvertently signing away security rights. You can waive your security rights in your contract or in progress payment waivers. You can easily waive your lien and bond rights for retention. Some waivers actually extinguish your lien and bond rights for future deliveries on a project. What if you sign a waiver and never receive the payment? You must learn to be careful with the dates on waivers to make sure you are not waiving rights for recent deliveries not included in this payment.

At Fullerton & Knowles, P.C., we offer over 25 years of experience to clients throughout Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, handling a wide range of construction, real estate and other business transactions, claims, disputes and bankruptcy involving private and public contracts. We assist clients regularly throughout Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia and frequently in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier, Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Henrico, Chesterfield, Richmond, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Chesapeake in Virginia; Montgomery County, Prince George County, Anne Arundel County, Charles County, Frederick, Howard County, the City of Baltimore and the County of Baltimore in Maryland.

In our years of experience, we have built a comprehensive network of experts, from engineers and architectural consultants, to scheduling consultants, accountants, and structural specialists.

We know how to prepare and present expert witness and other testimony and legal argument to protect your interests before State and Federal Administrative Agencies, Mediation, Arbitrators, Dispute Boards, and in State and Federal trial and Appellate Courts.

We also advise contractors, subcontractors, property owners and design professionals on professional licensing and disciplinary matters, and represent you in any proceeding before Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia State licensing boards, such as the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Contractors Board or the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects and similar professional licensing agencies.

Multi-party lawsuits are common in this type of practice. They require a high degree of organization, cost-effective document management, and resources to staff and effectively represent our clients. We have a select, qualified group of experts with whom we work closely.

The complex contractual relationships of the parties often calls for analysis of insurance coverage, additional insured requirements and endorsements as well as construction contract language. We often participate in alternative dispute resolution including mediation, arbitration and settlement negotiations in those cases where appropriate. No matter the client, we are always focused on an end result that will most appropriately position our clients for a successful and cost-effective resolution.

 

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