Without a doubt, there will come a time when a dispute will arise during a construction project. Be it initiated by the homeowner or the contractor, something will happen that will get under the other’s skin. Unfortunately, it is the nature of the beast when taking on a bigger construction project. Having said that, many of these disputes are unnecessary, and we want to take a look at a few ways to alleviate these possible disputes before they blow up the project.
Know the Contract
You would be surprised how often disputes arrive simple because one party is not completely aware of the terms of the contract. It is every party’s responsibility to know the contact inside and out. We have referred to this numerous times in understanding the different allowances and exceptions in the contract before signing off on it. However, it is not uncommon for an inexperienced homeowner who has never built a home from the ground up to miss an exception, then go ballistic when hit with extra costs. The same can be said for subcontractors booked for the job who run into higher supply costs they are responsible for but try to pass on to the homeowner or project contractor.
Document, Document, Document…
I cannot think of a single job that I had during my career where it was not recommended that I heavily document all activities. This is also true in the construction world. The main reason for doing so is that you have no idea when a dispute will be brought to light. For instance, there could have been bad weather or supplies that were not usable weeks ago, but the homeowner shows up to check on the project weeks later and goes ballistic because the project is running late. Trust me, for all parties, documenting heavily will protect you and help resolve a conflict when you have the data in hand to back up your claims.
Don’t Let It Fester
If there is an issue, any issue, address it as soon as possible. You are going to be working hand-in-hand with these people for months while the project is going (and I am speaking about all parties here). Anyone that is married knows how damaging allowing an issue to fester can be, especially when other issues start to pile up and then the stack blows. Small things can become big things very quickly. When there are issues, even small ones, address them immediately and get the issue solved before it starts to create more issues.
Follow these tips, and you might be able to get through your project without any formal claims or legal issues arising.