How to prevent disputes from arising during a construction project

Disputes with your contractor or labourers aren't just unpleasant; they could also have a very negative impact on the progress of your construction project and may even result in you incurring legal fees if the problem cannot be resolved without going to court. As such, it's vital to take steps to reduce the likelihood of a dispute arising. Here are two ways to do this.

Aim for clarity when drawing up the contract

Many disputes arise as a result of the contract being too vague. If the terms and conditions are ambiguous and can, therefore, be interpreted in more than one way, there is a very good chance that disagreements will occur later down the line.

For example, if your contract fails to clearly define the scope of the work you wish to have done, and your contractor then carries out additional building design work that they deem necessary (without consulting you), the project could go over-budget. If the project's progress is affected by this unexpected financial strain, you and your builder might end up in a dispute.

Similarly, if your contract merely says that you want the builder to do a 'basic clean-up' at the end of each day, instead of stating exactly what you expect them to do (such as, for instance, wiping construction dust from the surfaces or putting construction rubbish into a specific refuse bin), you may find yourself in a dispute regarding the condition the builder is leaving the property in. Their idea of a 'basic clean-up' might differ greatly from yours.

As such, if you want to prevent disputes from cropping up, it is crucial to clarify every single detail of the project in your contract.

Nip problems in the bud

One of the biggest mistakes people make when taking on a construction project is failing to nip problems in the bud for fear of creating tension or appearing petty. The truth of the matter is that if you fail to tackle small issues the moment you notice them, they will inevitably become far bigger and more complex later down the line.

For example, let's say that you are having some renovation work carried out in your house and you have noticed that the labourers are being somewhat careless with your property (they might, for instance, have tracked mud onto your carpets, broken a few mugs or accidentally knocked over a lamp whilst carrying construction materials into the house). At this point, you might feel a bit silly complaining about these relatively minor forms of damage.

However, if you do not discuss this issue with them and they continue to behave in the same reckless manner, you may soon find yourself dealing with major damage, which you then need to seek compensation for. If the labourers do not accept responsibility for the broken items, you may have to go to court to resolve the dispute.

As such, it is far better to have a slightly uncomfortable conversation when a small problem arises, rather than allowing the issue to fester.

About Me

Contractors for Big and Small Jobs

Do you need a contractor to help around the house? Are you planning on remodeling, adding an extension, pouring a new driveway, doing landscape or starting another home project? Then, this blog is for you. However, it also has posts for construction professionals who hire contractors in the course of a project. If you are looking for tips on how to manage contracting teams, ideas for hiring equipment, employment questions or related information, this blog is also for you. Welcome. My name is Tom. Through the years, I have managed a large construction company and hired a lot of contractors to do work on the investment properties I own. Now, that I've stepped back from working full time, I decided to start a blog with tips for consumers and business owners. Enjoy.


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