Every construction project involves an array of different professionals from various trades, working under a project manager or contractor until the project is complete. The goal in every construction project is to ensure the project is completed without any issues. However, this is not always the case, and disputes often occur. Construction disputes can be time-consuming and have the potential to ruin your reputation as a professional, especially if the dispute leads to litigation. With that in mind, here are four ways you can limit or prevent construction disputes.
- Create a risk management plan
In a perfect world, everything goes according to plan. But in reality, contingency plans are crucial to protect yourself should the construction project go awry. For example, disruptive third parties, contaminated materials, or even the weather itself can negatively impact your construction project. Accordingly, it is important to take some time to thoroughly analyze your project and then develop a comprehensive risk management plan before you begin construction.
- Study the contract
Many construction disputes arise from misunderstanding the contract. The contract outlines the requirements of the construction and the role of every participant in the project. Unfortunately, many people are only concerned about what the contract says about their involvement, which can lead to conflict because of a lack of understanding of the big picture. Educating yourself about everyone’s responsibility can avoid confusion and clarify issues that would otherwise be ambiguous. Also make sure the contract is well written, without contractual loopholes or conflicting clauses.
- Keep daily, accurate records
Keeping construction site records is vital for several reasons. Not only can records protect you in case of a dispute, but they also help to refresh your memory about the progress of the construction project. In the event of any delays, which are almost always inevitable, you can provide the dates when specific events happened and when those events were communicated to the client. Even if everything goes as planned with no delays, you will need the records to communicate your progress if the client decides to introduce a new member to assist with the project.
- Maintain effective communication
Effective communication is the key to success on any construction project. In most cases, the client is too busy or uninformed to review all necessary documents, so the contractor is responsible for ensuring the project requirements are met. To do this effectively, efficient communication between all participants is paramount. For example, if you’re working with several engineers such as plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and civil engineers, ensure each engineer understands how their role works in accordance with the other engineers.
Additionally, construction projects typically involve collaboration with multiple individuals and teams, including specialty consultants, landscape architects, lighting designers, interior designers, energy consultants, and computer and communications designers. With so many participants in the project, improper communication can easily lead to a construction dispute. To avoid these disputes, make sure you are communicating with each team and individual throughout the duration of the project to minimize any confusion and keep the project on track.
Construction disputes, often due to a real or perceived violation of the construction contract, can end up disrupting the entire project and result in costly claims. Should your dispute lead to a legal claim, contact us at (214) 761-6610 to consult an attorney.