Staying Protected Against Construction Disputes
Construction disputes can arise for a number of reasons, from disagreements about the quality of work to issues with payment. If you’re involved in a construction dispute, you may need legal help to resolve the issue.
Some common types of construction disputes include:
- Disputes about the quality of craft: If you believe that the work completed on your construction project is not up to standard, you may have a dispute with the contractor or builder. You’ll need to prove that the work was not completed as specified in the contract and that this has resulted in financial damages.
- Payment disputes: Payment disputes are one of the most common construction disputes. Conflicts can occur when a contractor or subcontractor has not been paid for work completed or when there is a disagreement about the amount of money owed. Payment disputes can also arise when the owner or developer withholds progress payments.
- Disputes about the delay: Construction projects often experience delays, but if the delays are significant and result in financial damages, they can lead to conflicts. Delay disputes can be caused by several factors, such as bad weather, material shortages, or problems with the project’s design.
- Construction defects: If you discover defects in your home or business construction, you may have a dispute with the builder or contractor. Construction defects can include structural problems, leaks, and electrical issues. You’ll need to prove that the defects are severe enough to cause financial damages.
How to Resolve and Prevent a Dispute:
- Communicate: Disputes can arise when either party fails to create or maintain communication. Both parties should share their ideas and expectations of a project during construction to ensure miscommunication does not happen.
- Keep records: Make sure you have everything in writing. Information you should write down includes letters, emails, photos, diaries, notices, and even specific conversations or any changes or agreements made after the initial project has started. Keeping these records in writing helps keep both parties responsible for any agreements.
- Have Clear Payment Terms: Your contract should state the dates on payments that need to be made by a specific date, any issues with payments, and when the payments are released.
- Negotiate: This is the easiest, least expensive solution both parties can do before moving to other forms of resolutions.
- Go to Mediation: Mediation is when both parties add a neutral third party to help resolve a dispute or issue. Mediation is not legally binding but is an effective way to dispute a situation before it worsens.
- Arbitration: Another form of resolution where a neutral third party is involved, but unlike mediation, the arbitration will give a final verdict to a conflict. Arbitration is also more expensive than mediation and can also be legally binding.
- Litigation: Litigation is a legally binding resolution that is the most complex and costly. Litigation can be very slow moving, so try to resolve the issue with a more uncomplicated form before this.
If you’re involved in a construction dispute where you cannot agree, it’s vital to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A lawyer with experience in construction disputes can help you understand your rights and options and will work to resolve the issue in a timely and effective manner. Contact Penrod & Swenson for all contractor disputes.