As a contractor, the last thing that you want to deal with is a legal dispute or a lawsuit. In this blog entry, we identify four ways you can take action to protect yourself and your business:
- Only take a construction job that you thoroughly understand and know you can handle. This is of key importance. If the job requirements include duties that are outside your area of expertise, politely decline and, if possible, recommend an alternate contractor. You also need to pay attention to your gut instincts. If talking to the customer leaves you doubting that they will be easy to work with or you feel that their expectations are unrealistic given your resources, do not take the job. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Foresight is always better than hindsight in these scenarios.
- Spend some time talking to the customer and going over all the job details. When you undertake a job, you need to have a clear understanding of the scope and nature of the work involved, and know what the customer’s expectations are. Both contractor and customer need to be in agreement on the material types used, timeline to completion, permit application procedures, parties involved in the actual work, etc. Do not assume anything.
- Take precautions before doing jobs for family and friends. The family and friends of contractors often want more for less, although they may not explicitly state such. To prevent this type of dispute from arising, get everything in writing. Have the customer sign all drawings and specs, and put any change orders in writing, no matter how small. If you verbally agree to make a change, document everything afterward and have the customer sign your summary before proceeding.
- Keep everything honest and Code-compliant from start to finish. If the customer asks you to build without obtaining the proper permits beforehand or to use materials that do not meet code specifications, decline the job. Following their directions will not protect you from claims or lawsuits that can result from unapproved actions and choices. You could end up covering the cost of rebuilding the structure to code along with any assessed penalties.
Questions about construction law? Facing a legal dispute? We can help – give us a call today at (305) 227-4030!