Construction professionals don’t need to work in the industry very long before they learn, from experience, just how easy it is for legal challenges to arise in the regular course of business. Many contractors even approach construction-related legal disputes as simply “the cost of doing business.”
Yet, it’s important to understand that many kinds of construction disputes can be effectively avoided by thinking proactively. Others can be resolved efficiently when contractors and other professionals understand when it makes sense to seek legal guidance.
Frequent issues that lead to disputes
A recent industry analysis indicates that certain scenarios are more likely than others to lead to contentious construction disputes. The most common construction situations that can lead to a need for legal guidance include:
- A shift in the scope of a project, contractual relationship, costs or timeline
- Unforeseen physical conditions
- Inaccurate, incomplete or otherwise incorrect design specifications
- Deficiencies in workmanship
- Poor management
Although not all of these issues can be prevented under all circumstances, many contentious disputes can be avoided by employing proactive, forward-looking approaches. For example, by waiting to sign a contract until each of its provisions has been thoroughly reviewed, you can better protect your interests and understand the other party’s expectations of you and your anticipated contributions to a project. This kind of review can, among other things, prevent a need to shift the scope of a project due to misunderstanding.
Resolving disputes that can’t be avoided
Not all contentious construction challenges need to be litigated. Many companies and independent contractors have great success mediating their differences with the assistance of a neutral third party. Addressing any issues that arise sooner rather than later can also help to ensure that slowly simmering tensions don’t ultimately boil over.
Getting a better sense of how to avoid common construction disputes and when it makes sense to seek legal guidance can help construction industry professionals to utilize their time, money and effort effectively. By preventing potential disputes from arising and addressing those that do head-on, professionals can spend less time in court and more time putting their talent to good use.