Legal disputes are unfortunately all too common on construction projects. Whether large commercial construction or small residential kitchen remodels, construction involves significant investment, high expectations, time pressures, and complex lines of materials and labor. Unforeseen risks, fluctuations in material prices, third party delays, acts of God, changed project specifications, and simple miscommunications can greatly increase the chances that a dispute will arise.
Before the Project: Be detailed and diligent. A builder's priority is building, not writing contracts, and an owner's priority is the job getting done. But the surest way to wind up in a dispute is to rush through the paperwork and begin a project before all expectations and duties are crystal clear to all involved. Often contractors simply reheat a stale contract and begin pulling permits, without considering the particular needs of the project or whether the contract template was carefully written to begin with. Many times the parties identify materials in vague terms, leading to wildly divergent expectations and near certain litigation down the road. We can counsel you at the contract drafting stage with an eye to preventing disputes, not merely improving your position when disputes arise.
During the Project: Whether you are the builder or the owner, it is important to communicate clearly with all parties to make sure duties, expectations, and changed specifications are clear and mutually-agreed upon. Properly document these communications. If litigation can be avoided, it should be avoided. However, prudent owners, builders, contractors, and subcontractors should keep one eye on their rights at all times. Even while a project is ongoing and before a dispute crystallizes, you should take actions to protect yourself or your company, or you may lose important statutory or contractual protections. We can help you protect your rights while the project is ongoing.
After the Dispute: If a dispute arises, do not delay. Construction disputes are particularly time-sensitive. If you are the builder, general contractor, or subcontractor, you have limited time to secure your lien rights. If you are the owner, you will likely have limited time to bring a warranty claim. Both parties may have a shorter period than the usual statute of limitations to bring a demand for arbitration. And because conditions on the project are apt to change quickly, it is important to gather evidence while it is available. We will represent you after the dispute, from the initial negotiations through ultimate settlement or verdict.
Whether you are the owner or the builder, call us at the first sign of trouble. We will secure your rights, provide practical counsel, and represent you in litigation if necessary.