If you’re a business owner in the construction industry, then you know that legal disputes are all too common. Construction contracts often have a lot of clauses and conditions that can be interpreted in different ways, leading to disagreements and, eventually, legal action. No one wants to end up in court, so it’s important to do everything possible to avoid legal disputes. Here are six tips to help you avoid legal problems in construction.
1. Be Clear and Concise in Your Contracts
When drafting construction contracts, it’s important to be as clear and concise as possible. All terms and conditions should be clearly laid out, and there should be no room for interpretation. Vague language can lead to confusion and disagreement down the road, so it’s best to avoid it altogether.
If you’re unsure how to word something, consider consulting with an attorney specializing in construction law. No one wants to end up in court, so it’s worth spending the money to get professional help.
2. Get Everything in Writing
Oral agreements may be binding in some cases, but they’re much more difficult to enforce than written contracts. If something is not set in writing, there’s a chance that one party will later claim that they never agreed to it. To avoid this problem, always get everything related to the construction project—no matter how small—in writing.
This includes email correspondence, text messages, and even conversations that take place in person. You can hire a virtual construction administrative assistant to help with this task and keep track of all important documents. These professionals can also help ensure all deadlines are met and construction projects stay on track.
3. Comply with Local Regulations
Construction projects are subject to various local regulations, varying depending on where the project is taking place. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the relevant regulations before starting work on a project to ensure compliance.
Failing to comply with local regulations can lead to costly fines or even legal action, so it’s not worth taking the risk. Make sure you know what’s required before beginning work on any construction project.
4. Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
It’s important to be realistic when setting deadlines and estimating project costs. If you tell the client that the construction will be completed in two weeks, but it ends up taking twice as long, they’re not going to be happy.
Making promises you can’t keep is a surefire way to create legal problems down the road. If you’re unsure about how long something will take or how much it will cost, it’s better to err on the side of caution and give yourself more time than you think you need. It’s also important to keep the client updated on the construction project’s progress, so they know what to expect.
5. Hire a Qualified Attorney
If you find yourself embroiled in a legal dispute, having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference. An attorney who specializes in construction law will be familiar with the relevant laws and regulations and will be able to provide valuable guidance throughout the dispute-resolution process.
If you don’t have an attorney on retainer, consider hiring one before starting work on your next construction project. Having an attorney on call will give you peace of mind knowing that someone has your back if a legal problem arises down the road.
6. Avoid Unlicensed Contractors
Hiring an unlicensed contractor is a risky proposition. You could be held liable if something goes wrong, especially if the unlicensed contractor was working on electrical or gas lines. In some cases, you may even be required to have the work redone by a licensed contractor, which can cost you a lot of money.
Hiring a licensed contractor may cost more upfront, but it’s worth the peace of mind of knowing that they’re qualified to do the job and that you won’t be held liable if something goes wrong. So, whenever possible, avoid hiring unlicensed contractors.
Legal disputes are all too common in the construction industry, but there are steps you can take to avoid them. So there you have it—follow these tips to avoid legal disputes in construction. Of course, even if you do everything right, there’s always a chance that a legal dispute could arise. If that happens, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced construction attorney who can help you resolve the issue and protect your interests. No one wants to deal with a legal dispute, but having the right team in place will give you the best chance of coming out on top if one does arise.