TEN NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR CONTRACTORS-2021

Image
   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

Safety Checklist for Homeowners

In Massachusetts, homeowners are not held responsible for complying with safety regulations in construction.  They can sandblast paint that may contain lead, walk on their roofs without protection and operate in blissful ignorance of the laws regarding safety.  If homeowners hire contractors who do not follow safety rules, they are not responsible for that either.  The risk of noncompliance falls on the contractor.  If a homeowner creates an unsafe condition, of course he/she may be liable if someone gets hurt, but the homeowner does not have to police the contractor.  In fact, since many safety regulations make the cost of doing a job more expensive, there is an incentive for homeowners to hire contractors who do not follow the rules!  Today my friend and colleague, Mark Paskell posted a story about a roofer in Connecticut who died after falling off a roof  http://www.thecontractorcoachingpartnership.com/Blog-Contractor-Coaching--Construction-Business-Coach-EPA-RRP-Lead-Rule/bid/65475/roofer-killed-in-fall-from-roof-in-westport-ct-osha-investigates?source=Blog_Email_[Roofer%20killed%20in%20fal].  You do not want to have that occur during your job.


Here is a checklist for homeowners to use when hiring a contractor:
  1. Make sure your contractor has worker's compensation insurance to protect his employees, and call the insurance company to ensure that it is still in effect.
  2. If the contractor is a sole practitioner, make sure he has health and/or disability insurance.  Sole practitioners do not have to have worker's compensation insurance in Massachusetts.  Check with your home insurance to see if they will protect you if someone gets hurt on the job.
  3. If the contractor is handling any kind of hazardous waste, make sure the he is complying with the proper procedure for removal and disposal of the materials (this protects both of you).
  4. If you hire a roofer, make sure that your roofer is using proper fall protection.
  5. If your house is pre-1978 and has not been tested for lead, familiarize yourself with the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) and confirm that your contractor will be following the lead-safe procedures
  6. Cooperate with your contractor by staying out of the construction site without asking whether it is safe to enter.
  7. Keep pets and children away from the work.
  8. Ask workers to leave the premises broom-clean at the end of the day; no one wants to step on or drive over nails.
  9. Follow safety procedures yourself, even though they are not required.
  10. Do not hire contractors who do not comply with the law!
As a homeowner, you have a responsibility to see to it that safety rules are follow when doing work on your home.  Even if the law does not require it, you should try to make the work safe for your family, the workers and your neighbors.

Popular posts from this blog

Who Can File a Mechanic's Lien in Massachusetts?

EPA Starts Assessing Fines for RRP Violations

When You Shouldn’t Mediate Your Construction Dispute