Construction Law

Focused and strategic legal representation
with a network of support.

Whether our clients need to pursue a claim or defend against one, Harpst Becker assembles a team of experienced and dedicated litigators, licensed in multiple states and federal court districts, to focus its entire energy on achieving the optimal client outcome. This is why we maintain an active national construction practice and partner with a vast network of construction lawyers to assist in providing legal services in states where local representation is necessary.

In the initial stages of construction, Harpst Becker lawyers help clients with:

  • Project planning — Our lawyers understand the industry standard manuscript contracts and offer extensive experience with the development of custom construction contracts for clients at each tier of project delivery.
  • Project delivery selection — With an in-depth understanding of the risks and benefits of each delivery method, we work closely with our clients to choose the best method for their projects, and then follow through with the right set of contract documents to meet the client’s objectives.
  • Subcontract negotiation and credit agreements — Harpst Becker works closely with material suppliers on credit agreements for major projects, and helps subcontractors and suppliers write deals for custom project secured financing. Our team also has experience having served on the drafting committee for a nationally recognized provider of manuscript contracts.
  • Bonding — Harpst Becker maintains strong business relationships with insurance brokers and bond providers in a continued effort to assist clients in obtaining services as needed.
  • Additional legal experience — The construction lawyers on the Harpst Becker team serve on the board of directors of construction industry trade associations, and also teach Construction Law at The University of Akron in the College of Engineering Technology.

In the later stages of construction projects, Harpst Becker lawyers:

  • Advocate for clients in all forms of dispute resolution proceedings.
  • Provide extensive experience litigating construction disputes in the United States District Courts, State Common Pleas Courts, appellate courts, AAA arbitration, private arbitration and mediation settings

Construction Project Planning And Contracts

Harpst Becker offers extensive experience assisting clients with the selection of the best project delivery method — both public or private. Our lawyers have an in-depth knowledge of the benefits and risks of each method and know how — and where — to focus their energy during contract negotiations. This ensures the proper transfer and allocation of risk, allowing our clients to obtain the maximum benefits offered by their chosen delivery method.

Our experience includes:

  • Working with the AIA and Consensus
  • DOCS manuscript contracts
  • Integrating contract families and helping clients customize contract forms for specific project needs
  • Preparing custom contracts for use at all tiers
  • Assisting with custom contract creation or standardized contracts for regular use
  • Counseling clients on indemnification, insurance risks and insurance coverage, including builder’s risk, OCIP, CCIP, and additional insured requirements that are critical but often overlooked
  • Assisting clients in evaluating the benefits, risks and requirements for performance and payment bonds

Construction Dispute Resolution and Advocacy

Our firm annually represents clients involved in tens of millions of dollars of construction disputes. For each case, Harpst Becker assembles a team of lawyers and paralegals best suited for the scale and complexity of the project and dispute.

We know it takes an experienced and efficient advocate to develop the ideal strategy to resolve a dispute or, if necessary, to build the strongest case for trial or arbitration. We choose our dispute resolution engagements carefully to ensure that we avoid any conflicts, while our litigation teams focus their resources on particular projects and disputes.

Construction defect and contract claims

Construction defect claims almost always involve some form of litigation and present challenges that require a lawyer who understands project delivery, materials, means and methods, engineering, insurance, and related concepts. Beyond that, these cases also require a highly skilled and experienced litigator.

In many cases, construction defects implicate insurance coverage and this may involve declaratory judgement actions as well as additional insured and general liability coverage claims. Defect claims almost always involve multi-party indemnification claims and these are further complicated by the interplay between contract language, common law, and anti-indemnification statutes. For these very reasons, our lawyers are consistently involved with investigating, evaluating, pursing, or defending clients with construction defect and associated contract claims, allowing us to consistently grow and sharpen our technical knowledge and remain keenly aware of the latest litigation trends.

Harpst Becker has established relationships with several insurance companies that engage our firm to defend their policyholders in construction defect suits. The experience we have gained by collaborating with insurance companies enables us to deliver the strongest legal services to their customers while staying compliant with carrier requirements.

Mechanic’s Liens and Bond Claims and Collections

Harpst Becker provides legal counsel to clients who need to protect payment rights on a specific project and act as the client’s advocate to pursue payment through liens and bonds, as well as traditional legal actions.

Services include:

  • Preparation and filing of pre-lien notices
  • Mechanic’s liens
  • Attested account liens (public projects)
  • Prompt Payment Act claims
  • Collection actions
  • Payment bond claims
  • Miller Act claims
  • Lien foreclosures and related litigation
  • Arbitration
  • Mediation

Harpst Becker offers a national construction collections practice and maintains a network of lawyers and law firms in jurisdictions outside Ohio to assist our Ohio-based clients to recover payment for work performed in other states.

If you are an Ohio-based construction business with projects outside the state, Harpst Becker can assign a lawyer to work with you to manage your legal services through our network to protect your payment rights and collect your money. This gives our clients the advantage of having a single point of contact, which avoids the hassle of coordinating legal services in multiple states. By understanding your business, we carefully direct your local legal services in an efficient and cost-effective way, while allowing you to benefit from the accountability and accessibility that come with working with a single lawyer.

Construction Credit and Financing

Harpst Becker has years of experience representing material suppliers and subcontractors and, by working with them directly, we have insight into the challenges they face when extending credit to their customers. These issues involve partial or total financing of specific projects or developments and can include: cash, ownership, or extended or customized credit terms that must work within an existing project’s financing plan.

If you are in the business of selling on credit or extending credit to a contractor, subcontractor or construction project owner, Harpst Becker can help evaluate specific transactions and prepare the necessary documents to protect your stake.

Services include:

  • Security agreements
  • Collateral protection
  • Joint check agreements
  • Contingent payment clauses
  • Real estate collaterlization
  • And additional legal services

If you’re interested in speaking to us about our construction legal services, please feel free to contact us.