As an Atlanta, Georgia construction defect lawyer, improper concrete installation is a defect, which usually causes significant, costly, and severe damage. By the very nature of concrete’s physical makeup, its uses in construction, and its importance in our day-to-day construction world, construction defects are costly to correct. Oftentimes, these defects are not open and obvious and occur over time, making them even harder to detect or place blame on the party at fault. Nevertheless, Georgia law gives legal recourse to seek a legal remedy for all types of construction defects. As an Atlanta, Georgia Construction Defect Attorney, I always recommend that homeowners seek an Atlanta Construction Defect Lawyer with significant knowledge of concrete. Additionally, it is equally as important to find an engineer to work with you who understands concrete uses, its physical attributes, and how to rectify these defects. Usually a good construction defect attorney will have their construction expert they prefer. Quickly rectifying these issues, especially when they relate to concrete, is critical. If left unaddressed, concrete defects can worsen with time and seriously affect the structural integrity of the home. Ultimately, the safety of the dwelling, and ability of the homeowner to sell the property in the future, is at stake. Conversely, when working with construction companies to rectify their mistake or disprove accusations of fault, it is important to have independent concrete engineer and a working knowledge of concrete, its attributes, and the building industry standards.

As homeowners, we are forced to put our trust in many types of contractors and usually it is relatively straightforward to find a qualified professional who, through referrals, can make repairs. However, in new construction timelines and oversight of projects, contractors are usually not intimately involved in overseeing the project. This is especially true after the home is purchased and the pre-build out is complete. Unfortunately, it may be months or even years after the buyers move into the home, before the Georgia concrete construction defects discovered. Thus, it usually becomes a daunting task to rectify the situation by correcting the defects in a suitable fashion, finding the responsible parties, and holding accountable the responsible parties.

A Georgia construct defect attorney with knowledge of concrete can be invaluable in this process. This is especially true if this Georgia construction lawyer has a trusted construction concrete engineer by their side. One of the first things an attorney will do is to locate an expert who will inspect and evaluate the defects. This expert can also act as a witness during any necessary arbitration or litigation. The expert will have an insightful understanding of the science behind concrete application, not mere experience. This is critical and an experienced construction defect attorney will look for a construction expert who understands the importance of site evaluation, proper mixing techniques, the range of cement grades, correct concrete installation, proper curing for under different types of weather conditions and backfill quality.

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As a Atlanta lawyer, I realize the importance of new Atlanta construction arbitration and its binding effect. The legal forum for resolving Georgia new construction disputes is usually binding arbitration and triggered by a clause in the “New Construction Dispute Resolution Section” in the “Home Purchase Agreement”. In most cases, the arbitration ruling is final. This means there is no chance to challenge the arbitration ruling, such as an appeal. In short, new home construction arbitration in Georgia is final. Should you disagree with the arbitrator’s award or judgment in your case, you are stuck with their ruling – and, no legal recourse. In your new home construction arbitration case, I know the importance and necessity of having affordable, zealous, and aggressive legal representation leading the way.

As an Atlanta construction law attorney, I have successfully represented countless clients in Georgia home construction defect arbitration cases. I have also represented countless clients in Georgia home construction defect negotiations. What is more, I have successfully brought contractors, builders, sub-contractors, and architects who are at fault, “to the table”, forced them to take responsibility and for their defective construction or design and pay damages, forced them to correct the defects at no charge to the home buyer, or both. It therefore stands that I know what you must look for in choosing a lawyer to represent you in a Georgia construction dispute. This is especially true if your dispute is to be decided through binding arbitration. Regardless, you must decide when it is the right time to seek the assistance of a Georgia construction attorney.

I would presume you found this article because you believe you have a construction defect in your home or other structure, which was caused by or through the negligence, malfeasance, or fraud of your contractor, builder, sub-Contractor, or architect. You will be glad to know, your search has landed you in the right place. The order of events in discovering and addressing a construction defect in your new home are as follows:

• You have found what you believe to be a construction defect

• You have tried to get the contractor to correct what you believe to be a defect, but you can’t get your contractor to correct the problem, or your problem gets the proverbial “band aid” placed on it

• You realize this is your house, it’s probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, you will call this place home, and your sixth sense tells you this is not a situation to take lightly and you should see a professional, such as a Georgia Construction Defect Law Attorney!

When you have verified that something is wrong with your home, and that the contractor, builder, sub-contractor, architect, etc. are not going to assist you in addressing or correcting the situation, it’s time to move on to more assertive behavior to protect your asset, as follows:

• Notify the contractor that there is a problem and give him one last chance

• Verify through a third party expert that the problem you believe is a home defect is the type of defect the contractor, builder, sub-contractor or architect should be responsible for, and should correct

• Verify through a third party inspector, expert, or other such person privy to the costs of correcting construction defects, and determine that the costs involved in hiring an attorney are justified. Make sure you consider the total affect the defect will have on you such as diminution in value, future sale value, the problem becoming worse over time, etc.

Now, you have properly identified and noted a construction defect for which the contractor, builder, sub-contractor or architect should be responsible, but will not correct. You have double-checked your findings through a third-party, and you have calculated that the problem is significant monetary issue to seek the assistance of a professional. Now it’s time to seek out your Georgia construction defect attorney to assist you.

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As a construction lawyer in Atlanta and a homeowner, I am painfully aware that doing any form of modification to your home is not only time consuming but expensive as well. Stress builds up even more when things do not go according to plan, and Atlanta construction disputes brought by Georgia homeowners and Georgia construction contractors can ultimately lead to lawsuits and court time. To control the amount of construction cases going through the Georgia legal system, the Georgia Right to Repair Act became effective in 2004 to facilitate the settlement Georgia construction defect arbitration, disputes, lawsuits, litigation, and other construction issues outside of court. The following steps should be followed prior to filing a Georgia construction defect lawsuit or Georgia construction defect arbitration proceeding against a contractor in the State of Georgia.

Step 1: Homeowners Understanding Of The Georgia Right To Repair Act

Prior to beginning a home improvement project, Atlanta contractors are supposed to alert homeowners to what the Right to Repair Act states and what is required of both parties if the construction does not satisfy both pairings. As an Atlanta homeowner, it is necessary to do your research before you begin any home improvement project, so you are aware of your rights. Not following the Act correctly can result in a loss for you as well.

The news of the mildest winter on record in some time did not make me think of Kudzu bugs that were not killed off in severe frosts and cold weather. Instead, as an Atlanta construction lawyer, I thought that a mild winter could lead to a warmer than average spring, summer, and fall. The Atlanta construction attorney in me thought the formula: warm weather plus poor construction equals mold plus even slight dampness EQUALS MOLD!

In my Atlanta construction law firm, I handle mainly construction defects. However, the nature and type of defect vary. I have seen an increase in the number of cases that involve mold in newer homes. This seems to be more prevalent due to the boom in construction that occurred several years ago. Inevitably, with the passage of time problems are surfacing in these homes. In newer construction, mold is usually caused by a construction defect that falls within one of four categories. The first is design. Design defects occur when architects or engineers fail to follow code and design a sub-standard structure. Material defects are in the second category and involve the use of inferior or inappropriate building materials. Workmanship defects are in the third category and can include issues that arise from work by an inexperienced contractor or by a builder that knowingly cuts corners during construction. Subsurface defects are the fourth category and result from poor preparation of the soil on the property where the home is built.

Design, workmanship and material defects can be present in most areas of the home. Subsurface defects, on the other hand, mostly affect the building’s foundation. In the end, a compromised foundation can affect many parts of the home’s interior, such as bathroom tile surrounds, walls, ceilings and flooring. Issues in design, workmanship or material can cause defective tile work, but cracked tile may also be the result of a problem with the foundation or sub-floor. Regardless of the reason, broken tile and grout can allow moisture behind the tile face. This is when mold can gain a foothold. It is not always possible to visually confirm the presence of mold, so careful examination of all tile work is recommended, especially in bathrooms and areas with high water usage, such as kitchens and laundry rooms.

Construction defects can be costly to rectify and can negatively affect the value of a home and the ability to resell it (this is often called a diminution in value). Some of the more serious and difficult to fix issues stem from a defective home foundation. A home’s foundation can withstand hundreds of years of use if correctly constructed and usually can outlast the home built on top of it. However, if built poorly, a foundation can be the source of problems that threaten the stability of the home and, ultimately, the homeowner’s investment.

It is sad to know, that whether I am working in Sandy Springs as a “Sandy Springs Construction Home Defect Attorney,” the Buckhead Area as a “Buckhead Construction Home Defect Attorney,” in Fulton County as an Atlanta Construction Home Defect Attorney, in Gwinnett County as a Duluth or Lawrenceville Construction Home Defect Attorney, in Forsyth County as a Cumming Construction Home Defect Attorney, in Cobb County as an Acworth, Kennesaw or Marietta Construction Home Defect Attorney, and/or last but not least, in DeKalb County as a Decatur Construction Home Defect Attorney, the critical foundation problems I see in my Atlanta-Based Home Construction Defect Law Practice all stem from common defective construction that could have been prevented had the builder, contractor, or sub-contractor taken care in the construction of the home, and in particular, the foundation.

Unfortunately, these issues may not become known until several years after the building is complete. The result can be a nightmare scenario that leaves the homeowner unsure of what recourse is available under Georgia law. In many cases, by the time the defect is noticed, the builder or contractor responsible for the poor work usually denies that the foundation defects are their responsibility. For this reason, we also may engage various insurance companies to seek a remedy and relief for the homeowner in addition to pursuing the builder and contractor.

The foundation is especially critical because not only does it support the house, it also provides a moisture barrier that keeps the home dry and mold free. A solid foundation also insulates the home from cold and protects the home from damage caused by the ground shifting. Poured concrete reinforced by steel is thought by some experts to be a stronger material for foundations than concrete block or stone, and foundations can be built below ground on footings to provide a basement, or built as a slab. Regardless of the materials used to build the foundation, or its type of construction, all foundation types can fail for a variety of common reasons.

Improper initial site evaluation by the builder is one common cause of foundation issues. The first thing a builder must do when planning new construction is to evaluate the property’s soil type, water table, and grade. This will allow the builder to determine where to place the home on the property and what materials to use. Once that decision has been made, the soil preparation, process of laying the concrete and backfill used around the foundation all will affect the integrity of the foundation.

The foundation must be poured over solid ground that is prepared correctly, and compacted, so it does not settle and cause the foundation to crack. Properly leveling and packing crushed stone before pouring a slab, for example, will help prevent the slab from cracking. If the property contains any landfill material that may decompose over time, the soil must be reengineered to withstand the force of the foundation and the building. Additionally, concrete should be poured in one day to avoid creating a “cold joint” between fresh and semi-cured or cured concrete. This condition usually results in a cracked foundation that will leak. Concrete must also be allowed to cure slowly. Only by curing slowly will the concrete reach a strength that will support the weight of the house (around 3,000 pounds per square inch). Finally, the material used to backfill around the foundation will affect the longevity of the structure. Soils with a high clay or organic content absorb and hold water and can cause cracks in the foundation during freeze/thaw cycles when used as backfill.
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As a construction attorney in Georgia Georgia construction law firm, I recognize that for most people, buying a home is one of the biggest investments they will ever make, so when construction defects are found in a new home or renovation project, the issue can be devastating both financially, emotionally, psychologically, and more. In fact, stress and financial hardship are commonplace for the homeowner burdened with a defective dwelling. Homeowners often lose money on their investment since the property is worth less because of the defects. Our Atlanta construction attorneys refer to this situation as diminution in value. A home with construction defects not only generates less money when sold, but also is much more difficult to sell. Inevitably, homeowners will spend additional time and money to rectify construction issues or lose money on their investment when they sell their home.

Especially true today, it is not uncommon for builders and contractors to find ways to save money on construction projects. . . . . AND, they do so at your (the Homeowner’s expense and detriment) . . .

Although being cost-conscious does not always result in construction defects, it can increase the likelihood of such occurrences. Additionally, many builders and contractors customarily use subcontractors to complete building projects. Subcontractors are found on most job sites, but the builder or contractor often completes their work with minimal supervision so the quality of their work frequently goes unchecked. Moreover, even in cases where the subcontractor cuts corners to save time or money on a construction project, any resulting defects are still the legal responsibility of the builder or contractor. This is even true when the subcontractor knowingly and purposely hides defects from the builder or contractor. The subcontractor will still be legally responsible as well.

Georgia construction law very clearly states that the builder or contractor is directly accountable for any material defects in the construction project, regardless of who completes the work at the site. Because there is legal recourse for homeowners who discover construction defects, it is wise to consult an experienced Georgia real estate construction lawyer as soon as a problem arises to ensure that your interests are represented. And while many homebuyers who discover defects in the construction of their homes only seek the advice of a Georgia construction attorney once the defects are noticed and legal action is required, it is possible to protect yourself before construction begins by having a qualified real estate construction attorney draft a solid Georgia construction contract or Georgia purchase/sale agreement that will better protect your investment.

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As an Atlanta, Georgia construction lawyer I stay very busy when I am preparing for a Georgia construction arbitration proceeding/hearing. Sometimes I have little contact with the outside world news. However, some matters do keep my attention in this upcoming election, such as healthcare reform, the estate tax debate, the “Buffet Rule”, and withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan — ending a long war. These changes are taking place on a national level and to some extent, a local level. It is my opinion that if the Republicans control Congress after the 2012 elections and President Obama is not re-elected, then much of President Obama’s attempted changes will be put to rest. Thus, it is understandable we are living in uncertain times wherein we do not know what or will not change. What will not change is Georgia construction law and the need to proactively protect your property/real estate interests from unscrupulous Georgia builders, contractors, and sub-contractors. Georgia construction defects will continue at a high rate as Georgia builders, Georgia general contractors, Georgia sub-contractors, and other Georgia building professionals try to cut corners to make ends meet and extend their profits. This is being done at the expense and hardship of Georgia homebuyers and new home purchasers.

Fortunately, under Georgia Construction Law, there are options to hold your Georgia builders, general contractors, and sub-contractors liable for their negligence, shoddy construction, construction defects, and more. Please read on and into my article discussing some of the issues a homeowner, buyer, or purchaser of a new home should be aware of to protect their home investment interests. I offer you the following:

In my Atlanta, Georgia construction law firm, all of the Atlanta, Georgia construction lawyers are sure that current Georgia construction law and Georgia construction defect problems (especially in big metro areas like Atlanta) are here to stay. Every building over time will see the results of wear and tear, but knowing whether the problem is an easy fix or a major reconstruction project needs to be determined before you buy. After all, construction defects can reduce the value of your property significantly. These defects can range from design issues to faulty systems to failure to meet Georgia industry building standards. Remember – not all construction defects are created equal. What may look like a simply crack in the ceiling could actually turn out to be a major architectural default or foundational defect.

As a residential and commercial construction arbitration lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, I can assure you that most persons entering into a Georgia construction contract do not think of worst case scenarios should any parties to the contract fail to perform their obligations according to Georgia construction contract law and construction industry standards.

• What is Georgia Construction arbitration; Is it binding? How does it work?

• What will happens if a contracting party fails to pay?

• What happens if the purchaser of contractor or builder services cannot be satisfied no matter what is done?

• What will happen if the contractor or builder neglects his duties?

• What do I do if I receive a Georgia “Right to Repair Act” Letter?

• Do I need to, and should I, send a Georgia “Right to Repair Act” Letter?

• What will happen if residential or commercial construction does not meet or exceed industry standards?

The questions and scenarios surrounding Georgia construction claims are endless as are the actual real life occurrences, which I witness happening day in and day out. To survive in the construction business world, it is best to be prepared for all possibilities. The best way to do this is to have a contract in place which fairly, resourcefully, and adequately covers almost any issues which might arise in any Georgia construction claim scenario.

For years, Georgia construction litigation was considered the more costly, more time consuming manner of dealing with disputes, and so many contracts included arbitration clauses instead. Georgia construction arbitration has many varied forms and phases, which are its counterparts to Georgia litigation. It is usually up to the parties to an arbitration, with the assistance of the arbitrator or arbitration panel, to make the decisions about pre-arbitration matters which are somewhat customized to the construction case. The most important and controversial aspect to Georgia construction arbitration clauses are that they are binding decisions and cannot be appealed to any court absent extraordinary circumstances. Even then, they are rarely overturned by a court of competent jurisdiction, but merely modified. One might say the good news in all of this is that Georgia construction arbitration can be a relatively fast and inexpensive forum for resolving Georgia construction disputes.

However, others counter this argument stating that the cost of arbitration has skyrocketed while the time it takes for a case to make its way through Georgia state courts has diminished significantly.

Two California Supreme Court cases held that the courts cannot overturn a binding arbitration award even if the arbitrator fails to follow California substantive law. As a result, it becomes literally impossible to have an erroneous decision reviewed by the courts. While this is a California case, State Supreme Court holdings often have a strong influence on the courts in other states.

Needless to say, if you enter into a Georgia Contract with arbitration, you should consult a Georgia contract lawyer with expertise in arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. This is especially true if the contract you are entering is a Georgia construction contract for new home construction, a renovation contract, or contract for any similar building, structure creation, or like-kind services.

Formerly a typical arbitration clause in a construction contract might read as follows:

All claims or disputes between the contractor and the Owner arising out of or relating to the Contract Documents, or the breach thereof, shall be decided by arbitration in accordance with the Construction Industry Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association currently in effect unless the parties mutually agree otherwise. The award rendered by the arbitrator or arbitrators shall be final, and judgment may be entered upon it in accordance with applicable law in any court having jurisdiction thereof.

– American Institute of Architects specifications (formA201) –

Due to the current trends in Georgia construction law and the arbitration process itself, as an Atlanta, Georgia construction lawyer with The Libby Law Firm, I would suggest incorporating certain additional considerations into arbitration clauses when used to give the parties to an arbitration greater control. For example,

Arbitration forum. The standard dispute resolution forum in the construction industry is the American Arbitration Association (AAA). However, recently, a number of other dispute resolution service providers (e.g. Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service “JAMS”) have developed and many attorneys now prefer them over the AAA. The choice of an arbitration forum should be reviewed in context of the cost, arbitration panel members, and forum arbitration rules. Particular attention should be paid to the forum’s arbitration rules since they are incorporated into the arbitration clause. Though, the arbitration clause may include provisions that delete all or portions of the forum’s rules.

Discovery. Most arbitration clauses limit the scope of pre-arbitration discovery. A well-drafted arbitration clause will restrict or expand discovery to correlate to the dollar value of the dispute.

Standard for Court Review of the Award. An arbitration clause can be drafted to require the arbitrators’ decision to comply with the substantive law. If the arbitrator violates such a provision, the parties to the arbitration may seek to overturn the award since the arbitrator exceeded the authority granted under the arbitration contract clause. To ensure that a court has enough information to properly review the arbitrators’ award the arbitration clause should also require the arbitrators to render a well- reasoned opinion. The opinion should include a statement of the factual determination made by the arbitrators and the conclusions of law rendered by the arbitrator. Finally, if you want the decision to be reviewed by the courts for compliance with substantive law, a provision should be included in the clause that clearly states that desire.

The best method for ensuring that a Georgia construction dispute is correctly and fairly resolved is through situation-specific clauses in properly-drafted construction contracts. The arbitration clause is one of many clauses included in a typical construction contract, and each clause can be affected greatly by recent changes in the law. It is thus wise for any construction contract to be drafted or at least reviewed by counsel before signing.

The Libby Law Firm Georgia construction lawyers can negotiate, review, and draft your construction contract in light of all of the most recent changes in accordance to Georgia construction law and arbitration proceedings, which is most favorable to you. If you are considering entering into a construction contract or amending a previous contract in light of recent changes in the law, contact our Atlanta construction contract law firm and come in for a consultation. Seeking the assistance of a seasoned Atlanta, Georgia construction contract and arbitration lawyer adept is the least you can do to protect yourself from worst case scenarios.

As a well-known Georgia construction arbitration lawyer with a perfect Avvo rating of 10, I am here to tell you that if anything can go wrong in a construction contract or in construction, it will. The very nature, imperfection, and importance construction combined with the building a home or commercial structure readily lends itself to disputes and conflict. This is likely true because for many, a home is the biggest purchase you will ever make in your life. In addition, construction is not what it seems to be on paper. It is, by its nature, imperfect and the result and methods of construction are readily subjective.

In short, protect yourself because this construction is “big deal” to parties to the contract and maintains a high rate of conflict.

If you have legal dispute or binding arbitration with a contractor, builder, sub-contractor or architect whose work does not meet or exceed Georgia industry standards, you should contact The Libby Law Firm without delay.
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In my practice as an Atlanta, Georgia lien attorney, I can assure you Georgia liens are an important tool that builders, subcontractors and suppliers use when a property owner is delinquent on payment for a construction project. As a Atlanta, Georgia Construction lien attorney, I have seen changes in recent years to Georgia lien laws that have had a dramatic impact on the outcome of payment disputes on construction projects. The changes include important benefits for all concerned.

Changes to the law include how a lien is filed, removal of a lien and enforcement of a lien. One important modification is that in Georgia, only a licensed Georgia attorney may file a lien. Some of the changes to the law are so subtle, that only lawyers specializing in Georgia construction law may be able to properly file a lien. As a result, property owners, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers should always seek the qualified counsel of a Georgia construction attorney to handle lien issues.

Benefits of the changes in the lien law include the following. Property owners can contest a lien by sending the contractor a “Notice of Contest.” After receiving the notice, if the contractor wants to proceed, then the contactor must file a lawsuit within 60 days. Failure to file within 60 days invalidates the lien. Another benefit to the property owner is that an expiration date now is required on the lien. The modified law states that contractors will receive a copy of a filed lien when a “Notice of Commencement” is issued and subcontractors and suppliers will be notified when the property owner has bonded out a lien.
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As a Construction Lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, I have noticed the poor economic climate is forcing more and more people to take desperate measures. As an Atlanta, Marietta, Buckhead and Sandy Springs Commercial Litigation Lawyer, I have seen an increase in claims by construction professionals against homebuyers who are backing out of real estate construction deals. In many of these cases, the homebuyers are looking for ways to blame construction professions for poor quality and workmanship so that they can walk away from the contract and not pay at all, or pay a lower price for work already done.

The following is a list of items that you may have received or experienced that should be considered a possible indication that the homebuyer is considering backing out of the construction contract:

• documents on behalf of the homeowner from a Georgia lawyer regarding pricing or quality of the work performed

• a Notice of Claim regarding your contractual obligations

• a written offer of settlement from the client that changes the terms of the original contract

• a proposal to inspect the building site

• an offer to settle a claim without an inspection

• a request to have a third party, for example a contractor or friend, work on or oversee the project

• continuous complaints about the quality of work

• failure to pay in a timely manner, for any reason

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