Huffman, Texas School Suing Contractors For Shoddy Work

When you send your kids off to school, it’s only natural to assume you’re sending them to a safe and secure environment to learn in. Oftentimes there’s no reason to think the institution they are attending is in any shape other than good or even exemplary. Unfortunately for an elementary school in Huffman, Texas, this isn’t the case.

At Falcon Ridge Elementary, there aren’t just a few worn down classrooms, there are numerous safety concerns throughout the school. Ceiling tiles sag over students’ heads, while another student fell into a hole on the second floor that had been hastily patched over with a thin layer of concrete and insulation wrapped in plastic tarp. Solid-maple planks have fallen 40-feet into the school’s commons and seemingly unending cracks and gaps have formed in the wooden gym floor.

The school finds itself at the focal point of a multi-million dollar lawsuit between a construction management firm, a bond program manager, and Huffman ISD.

Paradigm Construction LLC officials say the school district had actually stopped payments to the company after June, even though it took until August to substantially complete the school after several delays spurred by Hurricane Harvey and alleged interference from a firm selected to manage Huffman ISD’s bond program. They claim that as they worked seven days a week to get the building ready for the first day of school, Huffman’s bond manager inserted new subcontractors into the project who altered already finished features, making it difficult for Paradigm’s unpaid subcontractors to finish their work.

On the other hand, Huffman ISD and Bond Program Management Services say their contract allowed them to stop payments to Paradigm after it was apparent the construction would not be completed by the original substantial completion date of July 19, and that the work did not meet standards. BPMS officials say Paradigm, architectural firm Huckabee & Associates, and subcontractors did little to address issues within the school, leading to a building inundated with problems that has even injured students.

Teachers were forced to band together to help assemble furniture and vacuum construction debris hours before they were to welcome students to the school for an open house. In a separate situation, the district was also forced to pay $3,000 a day for two weeks to bring in catered lunches because the school’s kitchen was inoperable.

In the middle of this legal battle and escalating war of words are hundreds of students and dozens of teachers trying to make do with doors that do not close and classrooms with incomplete walls.

Falcon Ridge Physical Education teacher, Courtney Lively, has said she finds new issues with the building each day. The bathrooms attached to the gym only became functional on December 13, and they still lack tile flooring.

“The kids don’t know all the problems, but the teachers are stressed trying to keep it all together,” Lively said.

Houston Construction Attorneys

 At Feldman & Feldman, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined legal experience. Unlike big firms, we work very closely with our clients and no one gets “lost in the shuffle.” We will evaluate your situation, listen to your needs and goals, and devise a strategy that best helps us obtain a successful outcome for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.

Contract Disputes Are The Most Common Cause Of Construction Litigation

With any construction project, there are dozens of moving parts. If just one part fails, the rest of the project can be thrown off schedule. Construction litigation can be extremely costly and time consuming, making it difficult for projects to reach completion. The most common cause of construction litigation is contract disputes, which echoes the importance of drafting thorough and specific contracts with the help of experienced construction lawyers.

According to the 2018 Global Construction Disputes Report, contract disputes are the leading cause of legal issues for the construction industry, including contractual errors and omissions, poor contract administration and contractual misunderstandings. You might think a small omission wouldn’t have a huge impact on a project, but you’d be wrong. On average, construction contract disputes take 18 months to resolve. This means projects can be slowed down dramatically by even the smallest contract issue.

Construction contracts are a common cause of disputes, because unlike other types of contracts, they are often written in real time. Every little change needs to be documented in a change order to prevent confusion; however, there are many small details that can have huge implications. This means any time there is a contract dispute, the parties involved need to immediately contact an experienced construction lawyer. The right lawyer can help resolve issues before they drag out into an 18 month long ordeal.

Start With A Solid Foundation

The best way to protect yourself from litigation is to work with an experienced contract attorney; however, not just any contract attorney will do. The construction industry is extremely nuanced, and even attorneys with the best intensions can make costly mistakes. When looking for an attorney to help you with construction contracts, you must select an attorney with prior experience in the construction industry. You will need someone with industry knowledge to protect your best interests.

Know Where To Turn To When Litigation Arises

To prevent construction disputes from getting out of hand and delaying projects, you need to know where to turn to when litigation arises. Construction litigation can be incredibly complex, and you should only turn to attorneys with a successful track record. At Feldman & Feldman, our experienced construction lawyers are well versed on matters relating to the construction industry. We have helped draft solid contracts that prevent litigation and assisted clients when disputes threatened their projects.

Houston Construction Lawyers

If you are facing any type of construction law dispute, don’t wait to contact Feldman & Feldman today. We can analyze your case and explain your legal options. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Mechanic’s Liens In Texas

On any construction site or project, there are a lot of moving parts. Projects can quickly fall to pieces when parties aren’t properly paid. Luckily, people working in the construction industry have specific legal actions they can take to help obtain their rightful paychecks. Mechanic’s liens are the most powerful legal tool contractors and other parties in the construction industry can use to receive the money they’ve earned on projects. Unfortunately, mechanic’s liens can be very complicated; and, if not filed correctly, a mechanic’s lien could invalidate the lien.

Who Can File A Mechanic’s Lien In Texas?

Texas law allows for three different types of parties to file mechanic’s liens. These include (1) any party who furnishes labor or materials, (2) parties who fabricate specialty materials, and (3) design professionals. With such a broad categorization, everyone from contractors to architects has the ability to file a mechanic’s lien if their work or materials go unpaid. Additionally, in Texas, there is no legal distinction between a contractor and a subcontractor when it comes to legal authority to file a lien.

Mechanic’s liens can be filed for work done on both commercial and private properties. Tasks including providing lumber, making custom cabinets, repairing a roof, painting, rental equipment, and labor can all be protected from nonpayment by a mechanic’s lien.

What Makes A Lien Enforceable?

In order for a lien to be valid and enforceable, certain procedures must be followed. Anyone seeking to file a mechanic’s lien must file a pre-lien notice. There are different kinds of pre-lien notices and there are strict timelines for filing a mechanic’s lien. Failure to follow the smallest procedure can leave contractors and others without the legal might of a lien to obtain rightful payment. Because of this, it is incredibly important that anyone seeking to file a mechanic’s lien do so with the help of an experienced construction lawyer.

Get Help With Your Mechanic’s Lien

At Feldman & Feldman, we have extensive experience working with the unique legal issues in the construction industry. If you have not been paid for your work or materials on a construction project, contact us today. We can help you file a mechanic’s lien and get you your rightful payment.

Common Construction Law Issues

In Texas, the construction industry is booming. With the growth of the construction industry comes the need for experienced construction law attorneys that can assist with the unique legal issues that arise. At Feldman & Feldman, our construction law attorneys have experience successfully handling a wide variety of construction law issues, but some of the most common construction law issues we handle include:

  • Timeline Disputes – Projects don’t always go as planned. Parties can quickly start feuding over project delays and schedule changes.
  • Workmanship and Surety Issues – Anytime workmanship gets questioned, tempers can inflame the situation. If parties disagree on the quality of the workmanship, it can bring projects to a screeching halt.
  • Contractor Termination – Termination is often thought of as a lose-lose situation for all parties involved. All alternatives should be explored before considering contractor termination.
  • Construction or Design Defects – Accusations of structural defects, substandard materials, or code violations are incredibly serious and need to be investigated and handled very carefully.
  • Mechanics’ Liens – When contractors and suppliers go unpaid, they have a right to enforce mechanics’ liens under Texas law.
  • Contract Drafting and Negotiations – Unlike business contracts and other types of contracts, construction contracts have industry specific considerations. Only experienced construction lawyers will understand your needs and protect your interests when drafting and negotiating construction contracts.
  • OSHA Citations and Proceedings – Being proactive is the best way to prevent costly fines from OSHA and other regulatory agencies. For businesses already facing violations, quick and efficient remedies are the best way to prevent further damage.

Houston Construction Lawyers

At Feldman & Feldman, our Houston construction lawyers have experience handling construction law issues. We are well versed in construction law and can represent contractors, builders and developers, subcontractors and suppliers, design professionals, and owners/buyers, among other parties. If you are just starting a project, contact us to see how we can help prevent costly future litigation.

If you are already facing construction litigation, call us to schedule a consultation. We can analyze your situation and develop a successful strategy that protects your interests and keeps your project and your business moving forward.