Construction Contracts

Massachusetts Construction Contracts

Massachusetts construction contracts can be lengthy and complex documents. Contractors, subcontractors and owners all have separate interests and therefore, it is important to have an understanding of the provisions and contractual obligations that you are agreeing to.

The law office of Curran & Desharnais, P.C. in Weymouth provides legal representation for general contractors, subcontractors, and property owners throughout Massachusetts in a variety construction law and contract matters.

Whether you need assistance in drafting a construction contract or are just a simple review of your contract provisions, our office can help.

Specific Construction Contract Provisions

General Overview

Every construction contract should address the following topics:

  1. Identity of the parties;
  2. Date of the project start;
  3. Description of the project and contractor’s scope of work;
  4. Date of substantial completion of the project and the manner in which any project delays will be handled;
  5. The contract amount;
  6. Payment provisions or schedule of payments;
  7. Amount of retainage to be held on each payment;
  8. Indemnity; and
  9. How contract change orders will be handled.
Important Construction Contract Provisions

In addition to address the above topics, there are several essential contract provisions that should be considered for possible inclusion in any contract or subcontract.

  1. Contract documents. A project owner should ensure that that all applicable contract documents are clearly incorporated into any contract including references to any plans and specifications that will be used on the project.
  2. Price. Is the contract a “lump sum” (i.e., fixed price) contract or a “cost-plus” contract.
  3. No Damages for Delay provision. An owner will want to include a “no damages for delay” clause in its contract with a general contractor. Conversely, contractors may want to seek to strike or modify such clauses.
  4. Timing provisions. The contract should address when the project will begin and should have a reasonable date for the substantial completion of work on the project.
  5. Liquidated Damages provision. A liquidated damages provision fixes the amount of potential damages that may be recovered by a party in the event the work is not completed on schedule. These provisions are enforceable in Massachusetts provided that the clause acts to compensate the project owner for actual losses and is not considered “penal” in nature.
  6. Changes and Disputes provision. Every contract should have a provision which addresses changes in the work and how disputes over work will be addressed. Owners will want to include language that requires a contractor to perform the disputed work even if the contractor believes the work is outside the scope of its contract and requires additional compensation. Contractors should seek to strike such a clause although a savvy owner is unlikely to agree to such a change.
  7. Payment. Language regarding progress payments and final payment should be address in the contract as well as procedures that must be followed in order for payments to be made including, requirements for providing signed lien waivers and submitting applications for payment.
  8. Termination. Contracts should include a provision for termination of the contract including termination for cause and terminations for convenience. Termination for convenience provisions are disliked by contractors but can be difficult to remove from a contract.

These are just a few construction contract provisions that should be addressed in every contract. There are many other provisions that should be addressed including dispute resolution procedures, Guarantee and warranty provisions, indemnity provisions and more.

Joseph Curran, Jr. is experienced construction law attorney. Attorney Curran’s handles commercial litigation including, construction and surety disputes. He has represented owners, general contractors and subcontractors on both public and private construction projects on a variety of matters including, bid protests, mechanics liens, payment bond claims, construction site accidents and more. He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association as well as the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys.

Call a Massachusetts Construction Law Attorney today at 781-277-3262 or email Attorney Curran directly at jkcurran@verizon.net.