Economic growth in Texas and across the nation drives activity in the construction industry. Businesses exist to build offices, factories, homes, and other structures. Sometimes these projects end up in disputes that individuals can’t resolve except through legal remedies.
Construction laws are constantly in flux, and parties must stay on top of the latest developments. Explore a few 2022 construction law changes in Texas.
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a new kind of normal in validating essential documents required for construction projects. In the past, Texas law required the notarization of lien waivers. During the pandemic, however, parties to a transaction either couldn’t get together or didn’t want to — forcing the law to accommodate this temporary reality.
Under House Bill (H.B.) 2237, passed in 2021, Texas has joined many other states to eliminate the notarization requirements for lien waivers. Important note: This new requirement only extends to contracts signed after Jan. 1, 2022.
Sometimes projects go wrong for many reasons, resulting in mechanic’s lien foreclosure actions. The statute of limitations on these actions has historically been one year for residential projects and two years for commercial developments. H.B. 2237 has created a single statute of limitations of one year for residential and commercial projects.
The Legislature used H.B. 2237 to clarify the law’s language — and for the construction industry, these changes are more than grammatical. For instance, the bill has broadly redefined the meaning of “improvement.” Existing law narrowly defined what constituted an improvement. The new bill expands the definition to include a “design, drawing, plan, plat, survey, or specification provided by a licensed architect, engineer, or surveyor.”
H.B. 2237 creates a standardized claim form for mechanic’s lien cases. This claim form will likely make the filing process easier for lienholders. Previously, claimants had to review a long list of items and choose which they wanted to include in the notice of the intent to file a claim. The new form is one-size-fits-all and asks for new pieces of information previously not included. For example, the new form asks claimants to enter the type of labor engaged in the project and the material used.
Laws and regulations change quickly, and it’s sometimes hard to keep up. The construction attorneys at Cokinos | Young provide timely legal counsel to help owners and developers, general contractors, project managers, design professionals, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers, sureties, insurance companies, and lenders make informed decisions. Our team delivers both transaction and litigation counsel. But we also go beyond: We seek to help you avoid claims in the first place by instituting industry-best business and workplace practices.
Our team offers a depth of experience in construction-related matters and construction law updates, including contract drafting and negotiations, change order and scope claims, surety claims, and payment issues. Call us at 713-535-5500 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys or contact us online today.