Contractors and Suppliers: How to Handle a Construction Lawsuit

At the start of any construction project, the laborers and suppliers expect to get paid for the work and materials provided. While contracts are hammered out by lenders and builders, these parties are often left in a position to trust what has been agreed to. Once the project has gotten underway and problems arise, contractors and suppliers can get the raw end of the deal unless they took preventative and proactive methods to strengthen their claims.

Contractors must manage expectations before construction starts.
Both contractors and suppliers can find themselves in a legal dispute with property owners or subcontractors soon after starting a job. Promises made to win the bid, unclear terms and lack of a written agreement are some of the most common causes for such problems.

There are some simple ways to avoid construction lawsuits between contractors, suppliers and property owners. Use the following points to manage expectations with property owners up front:

  • Prepare and execute a clear and legally correct contract.
  • Include a well defined and realistic scope of work.
  • Prior to construction meet with the owners for an info session to educate them.
  • For any changes the owner wants after construction has started, be sure to use a Written Change Order agreed to by all parties.
  • Communicate openly, regularly and clearly throughout the construction.
  • Manage the process of construction actively, addressing issues as they arise.
  • When on the job changes (“field changes”) occur, email a confirmation
  • Use payment reminders via email and physical letter – if the property owner is unresponsive, send a registered letter, requiring signature.

When a problem does arise, employing the above points will put you in a better position to prevail in negotiations and any legal action that may follow.

Consult an experienced construction litigation lawyer when issues arise.
Once issues progress past the point of ordinary disagreement, contractors and suppliers should seek out a lawyer who can counsel them on the best way to proceed. At Rob Cohen Law, we are happy to offer a free consultation to assess your situation and suggest the most effective way of resolving the dispute. Call today to make an appointment.