As I sit down to write my annual list of resolutions for contractors, I am amazed at how much things changed in 2020. Construction was going well and then, in March 2020, COVID-19 hit. At first, we thought it was going to be a disaster for the construction industry. States, cities and towns shut down projects and many applied for PPP loans. Then, something amazing happened. Construction was considered an essential service and everyone was back to work.  That said, the work world changed: companies were donating their PPE to frontline workers, COVID-19 protocols had to be followed and paperwork had to be filed. Everyone was scrambling to figure out how to comply and keep their businesses going. So, you may or may not ask, what was I, as a construction lawyer doing? I spent March and April thinking about the new risks contractors/construction companies were facing and developing contract clauses to protect the industry. I wrote a number of blog posts with clauses to add to your contra

Managing Risk in Construction

The following blog post, although brief, highlights how important it is to plan for possible problems that can occur in the construction business and how to prevent them:

Dare I say, but it is so true! "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

I understand business is tight right now. I know the last thing a business owner wants to do is spend money. However, the time to get your business in shape is now, when you are not busy. Make a list of your top twenty referral sources and see how they are doing. Review your insurance policies and make sure they are up to date and provide you with adequate coverage (even we lawyers hate doing that).

When was the last time you updated your contract? Is it still in compliance with your state's laws? What if someone gets hurt on your job? If you have a homestead act in your state, you should file a homestead to protect your family's home.

Are your incorporation filings up to date? In some states a plaintiff could "pierce the corporate veil" if you do not follow corporate formalities and hold you individually liable.

Do you hold all of the necessary licenses and registrations for your area of construction? Massachusetts had a new edition of the building code go into effect, and there are now areas that require additional licensing (roofing and siding for example).

Do you have an employee handbook and work policies? Are you paying independent contractors who would now be considered employees under MA law?

In addition, now is the time to learn more about developments in green construction, energy and aging in place.

Money and time spent now for risk prevention will more than pay off if a dispute arises or an accident occurs. Pay me less, but pay me now.

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