Construction Law FAQs
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Basic Construction Law FAQs
Our Portland, OR construction attorneys have answered some common questions from their clients who are thinking about beginning a new construction project. If you have any further questions, or want to talk to an experienced and knowledgeable construction attorney, please give Dawson Law Group a call at 503-919-1315 for a free and confidential phone consultation! For more information about construction law topics, please visit our Construction Law Overview page.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a building code?
A building code is a local ordinance that lays out the minimum standards that must be met for a building’s design, construction, location, and quality. There are also additional building codes for electrical, plumbing, and fire safety. Building codes must also be adhered to in most remodeling projects.
What permits do I need to acquire to begin construction?
This permits that you will need to acquire depends on the scope of your project. You will need a building permit, and you may need to secure additional special permits to build in certain particular areas. It is also important to be aware of any land use or zoning restrictions in your intended building site.
Who can secure a building permit?
Property owners, contractors, owners’ agents or tenants (with the property owner’s permission) can obtain building permits. Much of the time, the general contractor will obtain the permits for electrical, mechanical, and plumbing work in addition to the building permit. Depending on the scope of the project and its location, additional permits may be needed.
How long are building permits valid?
Building permits are valid for a certain amount of days from the issue date or from the last inspection. The length of time will vary depending on the type of project and the community it is being built in. Talk to a construction lawyer today to get more specific information
Do I need to use a licensed contractor?
Oregon state law generally requires anyone who works in any construction activity that focuses on improvements to real property to be licensed. Licensed contractors carry liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance, which is invaluable in case things go wrong on the job. Construction work done by people who are not licensed contractors may not pass inspection or may fail to receive a certificate of occupancy (which allows you to begin using the building.)
Does a contractor need to honor their written estimate?
Typically, the answer to this question is no. An estimate is an approximate calculation of the cost of the project, and not a binding contract. However, it will be in your best interest to clarify whether the quote a contractor submits is an estimate or a firm offer.
What is a mechanics lien?
Liens are claims on property. Mechanic’s liens can be filed on construction projects when a contractor or business that works on your construction project is not paid according to the agreed upon arrangement. Even if you have already paid your general contractor in full for the project, you still may receive a lien if the general contractor did not pay a subcontractor or business or was slow in making payment.
Regardless of why a lien is filed, the business or individual who filed it has a legal right to be paid and can force you to sell your property if it remains unpaid. It is the property owner’s responsibility to settle the lien. While paying twice for the same work seems grossly unfair, in the event that this happens, you have legal recourse- you can file a lawsuit against the contractor to recover your costs.
How much does it cost to talk to a construction lawyer in Portland?
If you have some questions or want a little bit of free advice, we urge you to give Dawson Law Group a call today at 503-919-1315 for a free and 100% confidential phone consultation.