What is Construction Law?

The realm of commercial construction is, as you can imagine, very broad.  It involves complicated statutes governing bond claims for government projects, it often involves procurement law, and the wide variety of state and federal statutes that pertain to those subjects.  Like residential construction, it also involves contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers.

One of the primary areas of practice in which I have found myself practicing since I have been an attorney has been in the area of construction law.  Sometimes, people will ask me, “What exactly is construction law?”  Construction law is an extremely broad area of legal practice.  It encompasses so many different areas of the law and applies to so many different types of clients that it is, at the risk of sounding cliché, a microcosm of legal practice generally.  It applies to residential construction, which includes residential contractors, their subcontractors and suppliers, and, of course, almost always involves homeowners who are extremely concerned about what is most likely one of the most valuable investments that they will make in their lifetimes.  Residential construction sometimes involves banking institutions, mortgage lenders, and, therefore, sometimes foreclosure law.

Construction Law Challenges

The one unifying theme that I have found to set construction law apart from other areas of practice is the fact that construction law matters often involve a project that is ongoing, something that I find to be one of the most fascinating things about construction law and the reason I have enjoyed practicing construction law over the years.  The fact that a project often hangs in the balance is something that completely changes one’s approach to construction law matters.  It usually means that a successful construction law attorney simply must have a problem-solving focus that may not always be the textbook-perfect legal approach.  By contrast, cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, or other legal disputes often involve a set of facts that have already been established.  The car crash has already happened, the injuries have already been sustained (for the most part), and the facts are often more or less established.  In construction law cases, sometimes the facts are rapidly developing in real time.  Sometimes, one must weigh the benefits of a particular legal position against the benefits of simply getting the project back on track to prevent greater harm.  If you are choosing an attorney or even representing yourself in a construction law matter, you should always get a feel for the dynamics of a particular construction law challenge if it involves an ongoing project.

In the coming weeks, I will post a series of blogs centered on a particular type of client and the issues that often face that type of client in my experience.  If you are reading this blog and have a particular issue, drop me a line about it and perhaps I can include it in upcoming blog posts.  Obviously, I won’t use names or other identifiable facts that might disclose confidential information.

In closing, if you find yourself involved in a construction law dispute or potential dispute, and it may not necessarily have time to wait for blog posts and hope your particular issue might be covered, you can always drop us a line and come talk to us about your specific legal issue.  We do not charge for initial consultations, and we have significant experience in the area of construction law.

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About James T. Burns

Prior to the practice of law, James was a corporate manager with a large market research firm. Like many of our clients, James has started and successfully managed businesses of his own, primarily in the area of technology start-ups. James was also a prize winner in the UNM Business Plan Competition and has completed numerous consulting projects to help clients achieve their legal and business goals.