Tips for handling construction disputes as a contractor

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2024 | Civil Litigation

Navigating the complexities of construction disputes requires a comprehensive approach. For contractors, these disputes can range from disagreements over project specifications to delays and payment issues. Handling these challenges effectively can help to safeguard business interests and maintain both professional relationships and one’s reputation.

A comprehensive contract is often the foundation for dispute resolution in the construction industry. It outlines all parties’ expectations, roles and responsibilities, (hopefully) providing a clear roadmap for a project. This clarity is essential for preventing misunderstandings that can escalate into disputes. Additionally, a solid contract includes terms and conditions that detail how disputes will be handled, ensuring a predefined path for resolution. Although, this is certainly not always the case.

The role of communication in dispute resolution

Effective communication is critical in managing and resolving construction disputes. Open and ongoing dialogue between contractors, clients and other stakeholders helps identify and address issues early before they escalate. Regular meetings and updates can ensure all parties are on the same page to reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings. Maintaining a professional and cooperative communication style can encourage a more amicable and efficient resolution when disputes arise.

The importance of documentation

Maintaining thorough documentation throughout the life of a construction project is crucial in dispute resolution. This includes contracts, correspondence, project plans, change orders and progress reports. Proper documentation provides a clear record of agreements, decisions and actions, which can be invaluable in clarifying issues and supporting a party’s position during a dispute. Remember, all documentation should be kept safe throughout the process. There shouldn’t ever be anything destroyed or discarded as until a project is satisfactorily complete and/or a dispute is resolved, whichever happens later.

When legal action is necessary

Some disputes may require legal intervention. In these cases, a contract’s dispute resolution clause may clarify the governing legal framework, including the choice of law and jurisdiction. Arbitration is a common method stipulated in contracts, offering a binding resolution through an arbitrator’s decision.

If a dispute escalates to litigation, comprehensive documentation can be critical for presenting a strong case. As can seeking personalized legal guidance as proactively as possible.