Recently, I discussed some issues with a non-Virginia contractor. Its principal had some great questions that reminded me that construction law here in the Commonwealth of Virginia can be a bit different from that in other states. This fact is not only true for mechanic’s lien and “Little Miller Act” claims, but for registration of businesses, occupational safety, construction contract claims, and other state law specific items.
While this list is far from exhaustive, even this short recitation of state law specific items shows the need for contractors and subcontractors bidding for and performing work in Virginia to consult a local Virginia construction attorney early on in the construction process. This is true even if you have a general counsel in your home state (if you don’t have counsel in your state, I recommend you find an attorney to help you out) to assist you with your construction contracts.
Aside from a firm grasp on the Virginia construction law landscape, a Virginia-based construction attorney can, among other functions, act as a registered agent for your company as required by the VA State Corporation Commission. Also, he or she may give you some “home field advantage” through his or her connections with and knowledge of the local courts and regulatory agencies. Such local knowledge can assist you in dealing with claims and issues quickly and efficiently (and possibly informally).
Having a Virginia lawyer on your side will help you take advantage of local knowledge when you begin work in Virginia just as a local attorney will help in any state in which you perform construction work.
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