Client Focused. Results Driven.
Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith

Construction Law Lawyers in Northern Kentucky

Helping Contractors and Owners Resolve Disputes

While DIYing has become more popular in recent years, there are times when it’s necessary — and even required by local code — to work with professional contractors and tradespeople. But trusting someone with your home or other building project doesn’t always go as planned, and you may be left with poor quality work or more damage than you started with. Knowing your legal options if this happens can help you deal with issues quickly and mitigate losses.

If you’ve encountered problems on your construction project, getting an attorney involved can result in faster dispute resolution and help you recover any losses. At the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, our experienced construction law attorneys can analyze your situation and help you determine any potential legal remedies.

What Does Construction Law Cover?

Construction litigation is an area of law that deals with disputes between contractors and owners. These can range from small one-off projects, such as remodeling a bathroom, to more extensive construction projects, such as building a house. Construction law attorneys are specifically experienced in contract drafting and review, negotiation, and trial litigation. At the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, we’ve worked with clients across the Covington, KY, area on many cases involving the following issues.

Issues With Work Quality

A problem with the work product itself is one of the most common types of challenges that arise between contractors and owners. Contractors are responsible for executing work that complies with the local building codes, but sometimes, there are cases that involve borderline issues where the work is technically correct but not as promised. While the terms of the contract play a large role in resolving these disputes, an attorney can help owners get quality issues fixed or a refund on money already paid. In some cases, it may also be appropriate to report the contractor for review.


It’s common for contractors to work on the basis of a deposit to start work and then the balance due upon completion, but this can open them up to nonpayment issues. If an owner decides they aren’t happy with the work — or just doesn’t want to pay the balance — it can leave the contractor with no option but to pursue legal action to get paid.

Mold Concerns

Running water is one of the best conveniences of the modern world, but issues with your plumbing or water coming in from outside can wreak havoc on a house. If a plumbing project wasn’t completed properly or there was an issue such as improper grading away from the house, water damage can occur. When water ends up where it’s not supposed to be, it can lead to extensive mold issues that can take months and thousands of dollars to remedy. If you’re dealing with mold in your home due to poor construction or other contractor issues, our legal team can help.

Breach of Contract

Any time a contractor is doing work for an owner, it’s important to have a contract to protect both parties. Having a legally binding contract also gives each party a clear path for legal recourse if there is a breach. Breach of contract can include things such as not completing work within the provided timeline, not using the materials as outlined in the contract, or not paying on time. Any breach of contract issues should be handled by an attorney.

How Long Does Someone Have to Open a Construction Dispute?

There is no one specific statute of limitations that covers all construction issues. Instead, the time limit you have to file a lawsuit against another party depends on the type of dispute. For disputes related to construction defects, the statute of limitations is 5 years. However, for issues related to breach of a written contract, the statute of limitations is 10 years. These are important timelines to be aware of, as it can often take several years for an owner to be aware that there is an issue with a contractor’s work, and this may be well past the warranty period.

When Should Alternative Dispute Resolution Be an Option?


What Are the Kentucky Prompt Payment Laws?

The state of Kentucky has specific laws regarding prompt payment of contractors laid out in the Kentucky Revised Statute §371.400 et seq. and §§45.451 and 45.452. Clients generally have 30 days to provide payment after a prime contractor sends a request. This timeline can be extended to 45 days for projects at post-secondary institutions, such as colleges and universities. The prime contractor has 15 days from the time they receive payment from the client to turn around and provide payments to subcontractors and suppliers.

If a payment hasn’t been received from a client within 30 days after the invoice was submitted, the contractor can charge 1% interest per month, for a total of 12% interest per year. In cases where the client is legally determined to have acted in bad faith, the contractor may also be able to be awarded attorneys’ fees for whatever costs they incur in taking legal action.

There are some exceptions to which projects are covered under Kentucky’s prompt payment laws, so it’s always best to consult an attorney before taking legal action.

Whether you’re an owner with complaints about a contractor’s work quality or a contractor dealing with nonpayment, the team at the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, is here to help. Call our office at 859-667-1204 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation and how taking legal action may help.