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California Construction Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: - Stop building inspector / code enforcement improper notice of violation claims - file motion to suppress admin warran

A nefarious backyard neighbor (residential neighborhood) filed a complaints re: backyard i) deck and ii) allegedly "hazardous" tree on the city of Oakland

building department code enforcement website.

Building inspector from code enforcement visited my home; however I was... Read more »

George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Apr 18, 2020

Personally, if you think you've been wrongly accused, I would invite the inspector back out for a look.

You usually can appeal citations etc but the time period is very short, and you would have to show that the code violations do not exist.

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Business Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: Is there a penalty for backing out of an agreement for an HVAC project that has not started?

I signed a "proposal and purchase agreement" for HVAC work for my home. I signed it on March 15, work is originally scheduled for March 30-April 3 but I had to postpone it until end of April. However, with the economic uncertainty due the pandemic, I might back out of this agreement... Read more »

John Francis Nicholson
John Francis Nicholson answered on Apr 4, 2020

Apparently you did not cancel the contract within 3 days, which, theoretically, locks you into it.

As you know these COVID-19 times are very uncertain, and we don't know how the courts are going to rule on the multitude of cases affected by the pandemic that are now before the court,...
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2 Answers | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: What type of lawyer for defective retaining wall design/construction?

Retaining walls that were to be designed within city requirements to not need a permit. Walls were built, and measurements now show it needed a permit. Also, wall is leaning away from dirt it is retaining, and, after first rain-season, multiple sinkholes have developed on the tiers the walls are... Read more »

George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Mar 20, 2020

You should have an attorney who is experienced in construction law or construction Defect law.

Retaining walls over 3 feet tall also need to be designed by a licensed engineer!

Let us know if we can help.

George Wolff

www.wolfflaw.com

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Business Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: Coronavirus "stay home" order. Small contractor in San Diego with 5 employees.

We do drainage around homes, structural repair and retaining walls. We work outside. Am I shut down? I'm seeing lots of vague and conflicting information. If I can work do I have liability if someone gets sick?

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Mar 19, 2020

As you might imagine this has never happened before so there is no resource to know what will and will not be lawful under these circumstances. The best I can say right now, a few hours after the order was issued, is that unless your business is involved in one of the 16 essential government... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure, Contracts, Real Estate Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: GC filing small claims 4 nonPmt of $10K. Defense argues improper HI contract. How do I find case law that backs me?

2 bathrooms 95% complete (punchlist, barn doors and faucets left). Materials were not in yet (this was the 2nd or 3rd time we were waiting on her), but temps were installed. Left job for 2 weeks due to previously scheduled out-of-town job. Client fired us and refuses to pay for the 2nd bathroom or... Read more »

Donald M Barker
Donald M Barker answered on Mar 10, 2020

"Substantial Performance" is the term you seek: "I ordered 100 flowers and you only brought me 95. I am not paying you." If a party "Substantially Performs" terms of contract, then payment is due, but payment may be prorated fairly.

Here's a link to the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: 1. What is the authority for some California contractors to provide design?

2. What authority if any prohibits third parties from using those designs?

George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Feb 26, 2020

You can create and copyright/protect architiectural and other non-structural designs and design building and construction plans for a 2 story wood frame home for building permits without any architectural license.

You can also protect the original aspects of that design by contract and also...
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3 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: I'm a construction worker and I was on a job in Lake Forest .Home owner was gone and dog got out.

That dog was in the house and got out the front door and hit by a car. They are trying to blame me. I'm an independent contractor

William John Light
William John Light answered on Feb 25, 2020

Whose fault do you think it is?

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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: How can i find out if my owners rep (construction) is in a lawsuit?
George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Feb 24, 2020

You could check the websites of local county Superior Courts, or just ask him.

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: What penalties, if any, are there for an unlicensed contractor working at a senior care home?

In the state of California, if you are an unlicensed contractor who is hired by and performs work totaling over $500 at a senior citizen residential facility, are there any specific penalties beyond being unlicensed because it is a senior living home?

Donald M Barker
Donald M Barker answered on Feb 24, 2020

I am unaware of any additional "penalties" for performing works of improvement without a proper license on a Senior Care Facility.

HOWEVER, regardless of the nature of the property/facility, here are your Bigger concerns:

First, you cannot legally collect any monies owed...
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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: When are you supposed to sign a stop notice release ? Before or after you get paid ?
Donald M Barker
Donald M Barker answered on Feb 20, 2020

After or simultaneously when the payment on the Stop Notice is "Honored," i.e., check clears your bank account or you have cash in hand. NEVER release before payment. If obligor on Stop Notice "all of a sudden" finds a problem with your work or services after you sign the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: In California, if a contractor working on your home does damage to property, are they required to pay for defect repair?

Scaffolding company put their scaffolding on a small decorative wall and cracked it. The house is 90 years old, the wall was standing strong. But when cracked it is apparent the wood inside is gone. But it really did not matter as the stucco was thick and intact. The scaffold company claims they... Read more »

George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Dec 10, 2019

He is probably right about the dry rot.

That was already there before they came along.

It’s probably good it was discovered as it could have gotten much worse or even dangerous!

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law, Business Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: I work for a contractor and he's been waiting on payment from a corporation since June of 2019 . What is taking so long?

The contractor I work for was doing a job for a company called CFS Complete Facility Solutions. We did construction work for them at a Taco Bell. We completed the job and during that process. A corporation called Cushman and Wakefield bought CFS. The contract says they have 90 days to pay us and... Read more »

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen answered on Dec 6, 2019

If you are an employee of this contractor, your employer cannot make you wait for your pay until a client pays. You are entitled to payment on regularly designated pay days.

As to why there is a delay, there could be any number of reasons and no one here can know that answer. There are...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for California on
Q: Construction: Can a client require a materials/ Labor breakdown before issueing payment on a signed contract?

We submitted billing for a partial contract amount, waited for two months only to find out that the general contractor is requireing us to submit a materials/ labor breakdown. This was not stated in the initial signed contract and in my opinion is a breach of what I consider to be trade secrets.

George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Nov 14, 2019

Normally if you have a fixed price contract, the other party cannot ask to see your labor and material costs.

The contract you have might require this, or require a list of your subcontractors, so please review your contract in detail or have legal counsel do so.

2 Answers | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: We lost our home in the Carr Fire and have rebuilt. I fear that we have been overcharged and was wondering what to do
George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Nov 4, 2019

Why do you feel you were overcharged?

Was this a fixed price or cost-plus contract?

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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: When a politician is creating laws going against the constitution and the right of the people, is that a felony offense?
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Oct 23, 2019

As a general matter, legislators are not prosecuted for their actions in the course of making laws. Good laws are made and bad laws are made. One process for catching bad laws is judicial review, where a court could invalidate a law upon determination that is unconstitutional. Good luck

Tim...
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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Construction Law for California on
Q: Can you please confirm if my interpretation of the BPC code for unlicensed subcontractors is correct:

A licensed contractor sent unlicensed tile installers, (1099 employees, not W-2 employees), to install our kitchen floor. The job was $1,500 plus materials. He claims that since they were "employees," and covered under their workmans comp, they did not need to be licensed. Is this true?

James Alan Greer
James Alan Greer answered on Oct 4, 2019

Homeowner With Question On Licensure: Your thinking about licensed subcontractors is mostly correct (nicely done !). A contractor or subcontractor may perform ANY TYPE OF WORK without a license so long as the whole of the work is LESS THAN $500.00 (the "PennySaver" advertisement type... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation and Construction Law for California on
Q: The district court judges and clerk violated laws and rights. How and where do I sue the federal judge?

The judges and clerk of the US District court prejudiced against the ProSe for not admitting the crimes the defendants lawyer tried to make up. Then the judges were bias and prejudice so we requested the judge to recuse from the case but refused to do so. After the recusal request, the lawyer... Read more »

Joseph Franklin Klatt
Joseph Franklin Klatt answered on Sep 10, 2019

You don't sue the judge. Judges are generally immune from civil liability for their actions in court. As a practical matter, they are entitled to latitude, and they don't even have to be right 100% of the time. They have to deal with what they have as best they can. If the ultimate... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Real Estate Law and Construction Law for California on
Q: Is general contractor in breach of contract? What should I do- he's insisting on payment bu appears to have abandoned me

12 HI contracts with 1 GC 10 paid in full due to how progress payments worded Only 3 HIC completed 65% work don 85% of total balance paid Arranging financing for 1/2 of 15% left but now have preliminary lien notice from subcontractor & want to hold back 10% of total balance until resolved &... Read more »

James Alan Greer
James Alan Greer answered on Aug 30, 2019

Dear Owner Requesting Advice on Retention Payment issue: While I am adept at advising owners in a construction setting, your question as stated is probably not capable of reply in this limited forum until more information is obtained. Critically, an attorney would definitely need to review the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Hired a home depot contractorand he quit how can i get help?

I went to home depot to have a new door installed. I talked to an employee. They took down my info and said contractors would contact me. One of their contractors started the door install. We started talking about a remodel of bath and kitchen. He started the next day. NOW HE DID THE DEMOLITION... Read more »

James Alan Greer
James Alan Greer answered on Aug 18, 2019

Homeowner With Contractor Abandonment. Your situation sounds upsetting; I'll try to offer some guidance.

First, perhaps you should be trying to contact the actual contractor that abandoned this job - do you have their company name ? if you do you can look them up online or on...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Bankruptcy and Construction Law for California on
Q: How do I find out if a construction company I hired has filed for bankruptcy?
Timothy Denison
Timothy Denison answered on Aug 15, 2019

Open an account at pacer.gov and you call search all federal databases.

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