Articles Posted in CONSTRUCTION ARBITRATION

As an Atlanta Construction Attorney, making up for the recent decline in the Georgia construction industry, many builders, contractors, and sub-contractors are cutting corners to produce homes that cost them less material in and labor to produce. In some cases, poor workmanship is the result of lack of experience on the part of a well-meaning contractor. Regardless of the cause, the outcome is the same for the homeowner, a home with construction defects. Poor quality and workmanship creates a financial hardship for the homeowner, who in the most severe cases may not be able to remain in the home. Building defects in your home can affect your life in very adverse ways. I even know of many couples who were on the verge of divorce because of a builder’s construction defects. Ironically, this was supposed to be their dream home.

In my Georgia Home-Builder Defect law firm, we have seen an increase in the number of new cases that are related to home construction quality. Claims at our firm are common in the following areas: use of use of substandard material, breach of contract, non-disclosure of material defects, fraud in home construction, fraud on the home disclosure statement, construction negligence, misrepresentation of construction and sale, failure to meet industry building standards and incomplete work.

For many affected homeowners, the issues cited in these cases only became noticeable after the home construction was complete and the owners had been living in the home for a period of time. Under Georgia’s Right to Repair Act, even after the home warranty has expired, homeowners can seek resolution of these construction defects. It is imperative that homeowners who have found or suspect construction defects contact a Georgia Construction Defect Attorney who can guide them through the process.

Serious construction defects must be repaired or they can affect the value of the home and the safety of the occupants. If you have noticed any problems with the construction quality of your home, contact the qualified construction defect attorneys at The Libby Law Firm. Our lawyers have can easily handle the complexities of real estate and construction law and will work with you to ensure the best possible outcome of any arbitration or litigation.
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Atlanta, Georgia, Construction Lawyers know most new residential real estate contracts transactions in Georgia have a clause mandating binding arbitration if there is a dispute between the contractor/builder and homebuyer. Several years ago the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that arbitration is legally binding. As a result, once a decision is made during arbitration, it cannot be appealed to any other higher court of law. This is significant because most new construction contracts in Georgia today contain an arbitration provision.

Because most commercial and residential real estate contracts contain arbitration clauses, extreme caution is advised to anyone entering into one of these contracts. It is imperative to retain the counsel of an experienced Construction Defect Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, who can help you protect your investment before any documents are signed. An attorney will review the original contract and negotiate any clauses that might be unfavorable to you. This is the best way to protect against future damages.

In my Atlanta, Georgia Real Estate Construction law firm, some of my clients are surprised to hear that their construction contract contains an arbitration clause. They come to me because they must resolve a construction issue and are very concerned when they learn that the decision reached in Georgia Construction Arbitration will be final. The fact is that most people do not realize that the contract they have signed contains an arbitration clause. For these clients, the best remedy is to work with a Atlanta, Georgia Construction Lawyer to prepare for arbitration.

Because of the financial implications associated with real estate transactions, it is critical to work with a Georgia construction and real estate lawyer to safeguard your investment. The attorneys at The Libby Law Firm represent all individuals during arbitration, including homeowners, investors, builders and contractors. If you would like to speak with an Atlanta construction attorney or Georgia real estate lawyer about a real estate transaction, please call us at (404) 467-8611. You may also send us a message through our confidential “Contact Us” form on our website. The Libby Law Firm’ main location is conveniently situated in the historic Buckhead section of Atlanta near the Buckhead Triangle.
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Over the years I have handled many construction claims in my Atlanta, Georgia Construction Litigation Law Firm. Many intricacies to construction litigation are not understood by attorneys that do not normally litigate or arbitrate these types of cases. Two of the key concerns of plaintiffs in any Georgia construction dispute are to determine who is liable for Georgia commercial or residential construction defects, and who will pay for the damages that can be recovered. With possibly dozens of workers who touched the worksite, including architects, builders, contractors and independent sub-contractors, it can be difficult to sort out what exactly caused the issue and who the responsible party is.

Many people would automatically assume that the officers and employees of the construction company, when incorporated, would be protected from liability. But under Georgia law, there are ways to assign responsibility to construction company representatives, even when the company is incorporated. Having the construction litigation experience to address these issues effectively is critical. As a result, retaining legal counsel from an experienced Georgia construction litigation and arbitration lawyer is necessary to obtain a favorable outcome.

Besides providing representation for property owners with claims, construction litigation and arbitration attorneys can help construction companies and contractors in Georgia assess risk and organize defenses against potential claims. In today’s tough economic climate, builders and construction companies cannot afford to lose money on lawsuits that expend precious resources. Retaining the best possible Atlanta, Georgia construction legal counsel will save time and money for defendants.
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The Atlanta, Georgia, home defect and construction defect lawyers, at our firm strongly advocate you immediately seek legal representation upon finding any hidden defect(s) in your home. A latent (hidden) construction defect is one that could not have been discovered upon a reasonable inspection. Although these defects are not usually readily apparent, once discovered they usually will impact your home’s fair market value. Some examples include structural damage, defective building materials, soil damage, roof damage and termite infestation. Once you have knowledge of the defect, you should act and seek a legal remedy to your problem. Not acting or ignoring the problem could affect the legal rights and remedies available to you.

Oftentimes, Georgia homeowners are devastated when they discover serious home defects months or even years after they have moved into their home. In my practice as a Atlanta, Georgia, new construction defect attorney, I have had many clients come to me who think they are out of luck when they discover a latent defect in their new home.

Thus, the questions arises — What should homeowners do if they discover latent defects but the homebuilder or seller can not be located or will not correct the problem upon request. The first step is to contact an experienced Atlanta construction lawyer to evaluate your options. I have helped numerous homeowners locate the parties responsible for their home’s defects and obtain just compensation in order to repair the defects and/or compensate them for their home’s diminished value. Determining the identity of the party responsible for losses as the result of latent defects can be challenging.

First, under Georgia law, sellers have a duty to disclose all latent defects that are known and could not be discovered by a diligent inspection of the property. Often latent defects – such as improper installation of roof shingles – are not something that an independent inspector should be expected to locate during an inspection. As a result, if sellers know of the defect, they have the burden of disclosure. If sellers fail to disclose a defect, they may be held responsible for the homeowner’s loss. Types of claims may include fraudulent concealment, fraudulent inducement, misrepresentation, and breach of contract.

Where the construction defect occurs in a newly built home, potential defendants include general contractors, developers, and builders. Sometimes architects and designers may be responsible as well. Additional causes of actions may exist against builders of new homes including negligent construction and breach of express and implied warranties. Under
Georgia’s Right to Repair Act, homeowners must serve notice on contractors at least 90 days before filing a lawsuit. The Right to Repair Act provides allows contractors an opportunity to fix the defect, either fully or partially, settle by monetary payment, or a combination of the two.

However, you may still file a lawsuit if you are not satisfied with a settlement offer, the contractor fails to respond to the notice, or the contractor fails to follow through. An experienced Georgia real estate and construction defect lawyer will ensure you follow the proper steps to preserve your right to file a claim.

Once you contact a dedicated Georgia construction defect attorney, you may be able to recover the costs of repairs and the loss in value to your home as the result of the defect. You may also be able to recover the cost of temporary housing needed while the defect is repaired, the value of the loss of use, court costs, and in some instances, attorney’s fees.
Please contact the The Libby Law Firm immediately if you have discovered a latent or other defect in your home. We will find the responsible party and represent you in your endeavor recover the compensation you deserve.
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As Atlanta construction litigation lawyers and Georgia home defect attorneys we see many clients who believe they have no recourse for construction defects discovered a year or more after project completion.

Many builders claim – and homeowners believe – that Georgia’s mandatory one-year warranty period excuses them from responsibility for defects that are discovered or occur after the one-year period has lapsed. Fortunately, this is not the case.

In most situations, the warranty does not preclude a homeowner from filing a claim against a builder or contractor based on construction defects. In fact, one of the most common ways to be compensated for a construction defect is to file a “breach of contract” action. A breach of contract may occur when a builder fails to construct a home in a “workman-like fashion”. Types of defects include, but are not limited to, the use of substandard building materials, non-compliance with industry standards and incomplete or poorly completed work.

As an Atlanta, Georgia, arbitration, home defect, and construction lawyer, I am noticing more and more frivolous claims from Georgia home purchasers and buyers that architects, contractors, builders, sub-contractors, and other persons involved in the construction of a new home, are failing to meet the obligations of the construction contract. These same Georgia home purchasers and buyers are refusing or failing to allow “draws”, or otherwise pay construction professionals, per the construction contract. In fact, they are finding any reason to say that the Georgia construction professionals have not met their obligations per the Georgia construction contract. In my Atlanta, Georgia, construction arbitration and real estate dispute law firm, I am finding that many of these claims, by the purchasers and buyers of these homes, are arising from the fact that these new home purchasers and buyers have fallen on hard financial times.

To be brief, they are looking for a way out of paying you under the obligations of your Georgia new construction contract. Under their theory, a penny owed and not paid, is a penny earned. This is a terrible and pitiful way to try to get of paying under the new construction or new home purchase contract or bargain for a reduction in price. This is especially true given the tough times that construction professionals are enduring in Georgia. These hard-working construction professionals must be paid every penny they have contracted for and earned. This is especially true given the harsh financial and real estate environment they must endure.

In my Georgia construction arbitration and real estate dispute law firm, I handle many matters where purchasers and buyers of new homes are refusing to pay for the design and construction of their home and complaining about upgrades, construction timing issues, “punchlist” items, quality of work, and sub-contractors issues. The list of items and excuses I have heard is endless, somewhat pathetic and every now and then, humorous.

In successfully representing countless Georgia architects, contractors, builders, sub-contractors and other construction professionals, it is important to note that arbitration clauses in new construction contracts are binding and the sole remedy for causes of action and claims, which occur on or after April 28, 2006. Any prior construction or building dispute claims shall continue to be governed by prior law.

As such, every construction professional should know that new home purchasers and buyers are looking for any and every way to avoid paying the full and just price for their new home. The fact that they may have fallen on difficult financial times is their problem, not yours.

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As an Atlanta construction arbitration and home defect lawyer, I feel any person, family or business involved in the residential home building industry should be aware that there have been recent changes to the Georgia Code as it relates to new construction contracts and arbitration clauses. Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution, however, unlike mediation, a decision is rendered in favor of one party or the other after a “hearing” or “trial” where an “arbitrator” or “arbitration tribunal” hears evidence, arguments, and other relevant matters and issues concerning the facts and circumstances surrounding the new home construction and real estate dispute.

Because nearly every Georgia new construction contract contains a form of arbitration provision, this is important news for everyone in Georgia involved in new construction, building or renovation. This is especially true for the purchasers and buyers of any newly constructed home in the Atlanta area. Businesses and families entering into new construction, building, or renovation contracts should be extremely cautious about clauses that limit the remedy of any new construction or real estate dispute to binding decision via the arbitration process. This is because the Supreme Court of Georgia has recently ruled, arbitration clauses in new construction contracts are legally binding and your sole remedy under Georgia real estate, construction and contract law. In other words, if you feel the decision made by the arbitrator or arbitration tribunal, was legally wrong or flawed, you have no right to appeal to a higher court of law, or any other court of which would have had jurisdiction had there been no arbitration clause in your Georgia real estate construction contract.

Here is a short list of the types of construction defect cases our Firm handles and which are likely subject to Arbitration:

• Roof Problems and Defects • Foundation Problems • Water Leaking, Intrusion and Infiltration • Improper Drainage or Draining Failure • Mold and Defective or Dangerous Air Ventilation
• Improper Grading • Violation of County and State Building Codes • Improper Foundation Placement
• Failure to Diagnose or Set up Safety Features • Improper Stucco or Flooring
• Brick Defects and Mortar Issues • Roof Defects • Building Code Violations • Construction Site Safety • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Inspections and Compliance Reports • Safety Code Violations
• Construction Management • Structural Design Flaws


In order to properly protect your real estate investment, I strongly feel that anyone entering into to a construction contract or a new home building contract should retain a real estate business contract lawyer to review, negotiate, or redraft any real estate construction contracts which are unfair to you or “one-sided” in favor of any other party to the contract. In my opinion, as a Georgia construction law attorney and Atlanta construction lawyer, a “best practice rule” for entering into any new construction contract or real estate building contract, is to hire a real estate business contract attorney or construction lawyer to review and make changes to any Georgia real estate contract to protect your interests and investment.
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As an Atlanta, Georgia home dispute lawyer, I am extremely aware of the importance of having that perfect house built for you. Moreover, recently, I find that even some of the best builders, contractors and subcontractors are cutting corners in the building of your home. This results in eventual material damages that may not be evident in the beginning or initials phases of the construction of your home or while you are living in your home after it is allegedly “finished”; however, they will show themselves over time and create a financial and lifestyle nightmare for you, the homebuyer.

Below is a list of the most common claims and cases our Firm currently has against builders, contractors and sub-contractors:

• Use of Substandard Building Materials
• Negligence in Construction
• Breach of Contract
• Home Building Fraud
• Fraudulent Home Disclosure
• Failure to Disclose Material Home Defects
• Misrepresentation in Home Selling, Building and Construction
• Hiding Defects in Home Purchase and Sale Agreements and Seller’s Disclosure Statements
• Non-Compliance with Industry Standards for Home Construction
• Failure to Maintain or Adhere to Industry Standards in Home Construction
• Incomplete or Poorly Completed Work in Building and Construction of Residence

If you feel that your builder, contractor or sub-contractor is cutting corners in the construction of your home, or you want to protect yourself from this possibility. The Libby Law Firm represents homebuyers, purchasers and investors in construction arbitration, real estate disputes and property litigation. Our Firm also reviews, negotiates, and drafts real estate construction, home building and business contracts.
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