Four Phases of Building Construction

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All around us there are buildings everywhere. From houses to skyscrapers, we likely take them all for granted! If you’ve ever wondered what stages a building project goes through, read on to learn all about it.

  1. The planning phase No successful building project gets done without a planning phase. Here the ideas and dreams of the architects or property owners meet the real world of contractors, attorneys, and regulators. Some of the things that have to be planned include the budget and timing, but also priorities: what should be done first, and what could be dropped if other items go over budget? It’s also necessary to find out what regulations might apply to a build, and find out what the contractors and their attorneys need put into the contract.

    This is also the stage when property owners and developers need to think about things like neighboring buildings, placement in relation to the sun or to water, how utilities will be hooked up, and whether the property currently has features that should stay, such as particular trees or existing structures. It’s also important at this stage to find out if there are any legal restrictions beyond basic zoning and regulations, such as restrictions on who can do work and who can supervise.

  2. The negotiating phase Here’s where the contractors and their construction law firm hammer out what they can feasibly do and how issues like labor law might affect the final agreements and contracts. There are a lot of issues that need to be taken into account here. As an example, the construction attorney may advise contractors to take on builders’ risk coverage, which is usually written for a minimum of one-year and covers new buildings or existing buildings undergoing renovation or repair. It’s also possible that a commercial real estate attorney will advise owners and property managers to get this coverage, as well.

    Construction law attorneys generally have tremendous experience in understanding and hammering out contracts. Property owners are well advised to have their own real estate attorneys. Ultimately, the goal of all the lawyers should be to avoid any possibility any party will be making an appeal in court. If negotiations are properly managed at this point, the likelihood of issues arising later is low. This is an important step, since some states allow for a breach of contract claim to be filed for as long as four years after the event.

  3. The construction phase Once all negotiations and contracts have been formalized, and all regulations and permits obtained, building can begin. The building must be done according to the regulations, permits, or consents issued by the local relevant city or county governing board, and within a certain time frame. Usually, payments are made to contractors and others as certain milestones are met in the construction, or according to the timetable agreed upon in contracts.
  4. The sign off stage The building is done! All final inspections have been done, the final payments to contractors have gone out, and the owner then generally has a set period of time to let the builders know of any problems that might have arisen. Builders and contractors will also inform the owner of any maintenance that needs to be done on materials used in the construction process.

Every building is different, but the processes they go through from design through final sign off are generally the same. It can be a complicated project, requiring quite a few permits, inspections, and attorneys. When it’s all done, however, a new and useful structure is ready to go.

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