How to Avoid Construction Litigation Disputes
No one wants to be involved in a lawsuit, especially in the construction world. Such actions are costly, time consuming, and often prevent the two parties from doing business again. Even when a party prevails in a lawsuit, the fact that there was a suit at all may have a haunting effect. Others may not want to do business with the prevailing party for fear that they themselves might be drawn into a future lawsuit.
And the construction industry, with its reams of complex paperwork and work that can be affected adversely by any number of factors ranging from weather to suppliers, is a especially litigation prone business. It's not a bad idea to have legal representation on retainer and have a few law classes under your belt if you are a firm owner. But this doesn't mean all projects should be approached as a potential lawsuit in the making. Indeed, litigation can often be avoided by following the tips below.
ContractsThis is an important binding legal document that often trips up both contractors and clients because both parties don't invest sufficient time in putting their parts together and then reading the entire document. Contractors should make sure that a final contract thoroughly lays out their responsibilities and obligations (and the client's as well) on all aspects of a project, ranging from weather delays to suppliers to staff safety meetings before signing. While these documents are seldom literary masterpieces, they should be read carefully to check for errors and loopholes before the project commences.
ReportingAll reports should be in a neat legible hand and filed in a uniform way. The reports should be stored in a way that allows rapid access by multiple parties as well. Raken's software app for daily reporting can be very helpful here. This software allows reporting to be done legibly and uniformly from any device and allows for collaborative real time reporting. Any needed photos or graphics can easily be added to Raken reports, and these report files can be stored for up to ten years on the cloud for future access.
CommunicationsProject owners and managers should meet with clients both in person and digitally frequently over the course of a project. Not only is this a great way to pass on project information both good and bad, these meetings help to head off confusion and misunderstandings on both sides that can otherwise grow into full blown legal disputes.