Lawyers, Answer Questions  & Get Points Log In
California Construction Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Home remodel went 70% over budget—and contract is fuzzy. Do we still owe our general contractor his 15% final payment?

Our G.C. said he could remodel and expand our small, 50-year-old Calif. home for $300,000 and complete in 8 months. After 11.5 months, we insisted on moving back in even though it was not completed. Total cost for labor/materials so far has been around $470,000. Due to the delays, we had to pay an... Read more »

George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Oct 21, 2020

Home Improvement Contracts are required to be in writing and for a fixed price, have a fixed completion date and have certain other requirements.

https://www.wolfflaw.com/legal-requirements-and-concerns-for-home-improvement-residential.html

Have an experienced Construction...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Constitutional Law, Construction Law, Consumer Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: I am a homeowner in Ca I hired a contractor to do painting around the house. I am I in my rights to fire the contractor.

I hired the contactor to do painting around the house. The job is not being done correctly or at all.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Oct 5, 2020

You have the right to terminate any contract at any time for any reason BUT you cannot terminate all contracts without penalty. Meaning, if you terminate the contract without "good cause" you may have to pay the other party some damages. Now you say that they are not doing it... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: My home has been under construction for 3 years because my contractor has delayed and works very minimally. What do I do

It was demo’d for a whole year and a half to the point where water was leaking in the existing portion. He keeps asking for money and changing the agreement. We are way over budget and now we are waiting for the inspector. The permit is potentially expired so he would have to renew. He framed... Read more »

George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Oct 3, 2020

It seems you may not have a very good contractor, and he may not have the best skills.

Does your contract have a firm completion date?

Have you made changes to the contract since it was signed?

You should consult with an experienced construction attorney.

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Does paying for a permitted bathroom include the unclogging of a sink?

The original quote for bathroom remodel (fully permitted, replace sink, tub, toilet and finishes) did not specifically call out for unclogging of sink drain. GC agreed verbally after quote was signed to unclog the sink drain. He sent out a plumber ("out of the goodness of his heart") and... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 15, 2020

Interesting. The GC rushed to finish the job, in order to get paid, and the plumbing was not operational. Now you have to demo the new construction. Possible negligence on the part of the GC because the warning bells should have gone off when the gratuitous plumber could not unclog the drain.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Am I required to hire a General Contractor in CA, for work designed and installed by certified licensed contractors

Sold a 40 year old home AS-IS. After Close Of Escrow buyer discovered issue with location of electrical meter. We agreed to pay damages to have meters moved. But, now they are also requesting payment for "general contractor" fees - essentially the hours the private homeowner invested to... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Sep 1, 2020

Is the buyer a General Contractor? Does he have a written contract with himself to perform the work he is billing for that comports with the contract requirements for contractors in California? If either of these answers is no, he does not get anything and even if they are both yes, he probably... Read more »

5 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents, Construction Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: What are my options when trying to recoup vehicle repair costs associated with damage caused by Caltrans' subcontractor?

Hello,

Significant vehicle damage was incurred due to freeway construction debris collision with my vehicle. Caltrans claim was submitted by both my vehicle insurance and myself. Caltrans responded about a year later to my insurance, stating that this instance was caused by their... Read more »

Robert Dourian
Robert Dourian answered on Aug 31, 2020

I sounds like your options have narrowed down to filing an action for property damages. It is not so clear that CALTRANS is not responsible, but its all about the actual facts and circumstances. This matter may not make sense for an attorney to take on if the dollar amount of the damage is low.... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Can I fight a law not allowing me to put a shade.

There is an ordinance in my city that says I have a 25’setback. I only have a 30’ driveway. I need something to help keep my house cooler and help my home become more energy efficient. Is the city obligated to give me some type of solution?

James Alan Greer
James Alan Greer answered on Aug 26, 2020

Dear California SET BACK LAW questioner: The 25 foot set back precludes erection of a building structure but typically does not preclude, for example, an arbor or a shade sail or retractable awning. If you construct one of these examples above your sun-facing windows that may offer relief. You... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Is a partial down payment enough to secure a job for a contractor?

Gave me 800 in cash...down payment was 7500

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Aug 18, 2020

Well, look at your written construction contract, you know, the one required by law. Does it say that you are not retained until you get the entire deposit? Give back the money and written notice that you are turning down the job for his non performance.

Justia disclaimers below,...
Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Construction Law and Contracts for California on
Q: May I apply a affidavit to filing civil law suit against child dependency, and county counsel representative for cps
Louis George Fazzi
Louis George Fazzi answered on Aug 14, 2020

We need a lot more information from you in order to understand what your issue is all about. There is insufficient detail to allow me to give you any kind of advice. Any lawyer will need to know enough detail to understand your situation. A chronological statement of what happened, when, where, how... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for California on
Q: Can I be held to contract if it's underbid?

Independent sales person underbid a job, had customer sign our contract and collect deposit. I went out there to site survey it and realized the job was undersold and needed additional equipment and work that I'm not licensed to do. I'm an electrician, and they need stucco work for the... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jul 19, 2020

Yes, he has a case, but you may have a defense. You are responsible for the contracts that your agents negotiate. But from what you say you may have the defense of Impossibility of performance, if you do not have the license to perform the job. You might also want to be sure that the contract is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for California on
Q: Do California meals and overtime laws apply to small paving company of 11 employees?

Are there differences to the law based on the size of the company or industry (paving)?

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jun 22, 2020

The short answer is that the Wage Orders apply to all employers no matter what size. The complicated answer with respect to your question is whether your company is a government contractor and subject to additional laws regarding the rate of pay (prevailing wage) that they must pay to employees... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Business Law, Contracts and Construction Law for California on
Q: I recently received a bill from a handyman for services rendered in December of 2017. Do I have to pay this?

I have never been billed for these services and had inquired multiple times for a bill in December 2017. Since so much time has elapsed, I feel even the hours are a bit high. I believe this was an oral agreement only for the work rendered Am I still responsible to pay?

Donald M Barker
Donald M Barker answered on May 27, 2020

As a general rule, any civil action for monies owed for services or goods must be commenced within two years of providing such services or goods, with some narrow exceptions. If there is a written contract, the statute of limitations is four years, with some exceptions.

View More 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,...
Read more »

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

View More Answers

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...
Read more »

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...
Read more »

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?

View More Answers

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.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.