Unique Construction Laws Across the US

by RyanD on September 4, 2013

In essence, construction law is a blend of legal principles borrowed from contract law, equity law, tort law, statutory law, suretyship law, agency law and real estate law. See 1 Bruner & O’Connor Construction Law § 1:3. Particularly in recent years, construction law has become a unique and increasingly specialized field. Because construction law varies considerably from state to state, it is not uncommon to come across some bizarre and even asinine laws governing construction. Below is a just a brief sampling of some of the more unique construction laws in place around the country; it is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and counsel. Unique Construction Statutes in the United States • In Wyoming, all new public buildings that cost over $100,000 to build must spend at least 1 percent of the funds on public artwork for the building. See Wyoming Statute 16-6-802.
• An 1885 New York law known as the “Scaffold Law” provides that whenever a construction worker is injured while using scaffolding or a ladder, it is the contractor’s burden to prove that the job site was safe. The law, which is designed to make developers accountable for keeping construction sites safe, has survived recent challenges and is the last of its kind in the nation. • In Kansas City, Missouri, a city ordinance prohibits the construction of bathtubs with four legs resembling animal paws. In Minnesota, on the other hand, a state law requires that all bathtubs have feet. Note that for Missouri you may also be interested in some of our top Missouri personal injury attorney articles:- • If you live on Main Street in Hingham, Massachusetts, and want to paint your house, the colors you choose must first be approved by the historical society. In addition, if your house can be seen from Main Street, your house may only have white lights, colored lights are strictly prohibited. • North Carolina law prohibits the use of climate change science in local planning to predict sea-level rise. • Cutting down a cactus in the state of Arizona can get you a maximum 25 years behind bars. • A law in Dubuque, Iowa, mandates that all hotels must be constructed with a hitching post and water bucket outside the building. • In Massachusetts, it is illegal to allow someone to use stilts while performing construction work. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 149, Section 129(B). • A New York Lien Law requires that you maintain separate books and records for each project. See New York Lien Law Article 3(A). Bizarre Construction Cases From Around the United States Just as there are unique construction statutes, there are unique construction cases being litigated every day. For example, a city in New Mexico was recently sued by an architectural firm that claimed it was owed $1 million for work performed under several contracts. The city defended on the grounds that its mayor had signed the contracts drunk and did not know what he was agreeing to. In another case, Detroit billionaire Matty Moroun was held in contempt of the court and sentenced to jail after his company failed to fulfill its contractual obligations with the Michigan Department of Transportation to improve freeway connections. In another case, a California architect was convicted of manslaughter for a faulty fireplace design when a Los Angeles firefighter was killed fighting a fire that had erupted in a Hollywood Hills mansion that building officials described as a death trap. This article was written together with Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who looks forward to helping you understand the law. He writes this on behalf of Texas Iron and Metal, your number one choice when looking for metal in Houston. Check out their website at http://www.texasironandmetal.com/metal-supply-houston/ for more information!



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