1. Get It In Writing
The most basic advice of any contractual relationship is to get it in writing. A written contract, signed and dated by both parties, is your best insurance against being taken advantage of or losing out on money you are due. Numbers 2-6 below should all be included in a written contract.
Judges in Colorado give great weight to contracts and the terms contained within them so it is always going to be in your best interests to have your Colorado construction attorney review the terms and make sure they are favorable to you. It will be very difficult to convince a judge to ignore the terms of the contract after the fact if you come to find out you’ve been taken advantage of.
2. Agree On A Price
All pricing should be agreed upon upfront. This eliminates any confusion over what is to be paid by whom and it removes any possibility of “he said, she said” arguments from cropping up.
3. Agree On A Detailed Scope Of Work
Related to pricing, all contracts should contain a detailed scope of work. This works to the benefit of both parties. Everyone will know – and agree on ahead of time – exactly what work is to be completed and by whom. There will be no chance of finger-pointing afterwards if something is not completed.
4. Agree On A Timeframe For Completion
Established timeframes protect the contractor, subcontractors and the customer. All parties know when the project is expected to be complete and, in many cases, exactly who is responsible for each piece of the project. If, for example, the contractor does not obtain the necessary permits and this causes a delay that pushes the entire timetable back, the subcontractor may be protected from litigation by the terms of the contract if it can be proven that he/she was not responsible for the delay.
5. Agree On Penalties If The Timeframe Is Not Met
Penalties for not meeting the timeframe protect everyone’s interests and serve as added motivation to stick to the established timetable. If the project goes longer than anticipated due to one party not completing work as agreed upon, the contractor or other subcontractors may have to put off other jobs or cancel them entirely. This can cause financial distress to the aggrieved party. By assessing penalties if the timetable is not adhered to, the companies who are involved in the project are at least assured of some compensation if things get off schedule and everyone is motivated to keep to the established timetable.
6. Agree On A Dispute Resolution Process
Dispute resolution is a way to resolve any disputes that may arise. There are several methods of dispute resolution including:
- Collaborative law
Each one deals with disputes in a different way and costs can vary widely between methods. If you find yourself in a dispute, contact a construction lawyer right away. He or she can look over your contract and discuss each option with you to determine the best course of action for your particular situation.
7. Get An Attorney Review Before Signing
One of the most important things you can do when you have a construction contract in hand is to have it reviewed by a construction attorney before you sign anything. One hour of review is going to be far less expensive than hours spent in litigation.
For more information about preventing construction disputes, consult an attorney at Schlueter, Mahoney & Ross, P.C. Our construction attorneys can be reached by phone at (303) 292-4525, at our office, or by filling out the contact form on our Contact Us page.
Our construction law attorneys, Michael A. Schlueter, Elliot Fladen and Lisa C. Secor represent clients throughout Colorado, including Denver, Aurora, Broomfield, Boulder, Greely, Commerce City, Lakewood, Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Arvada, Westminster, Pueblo, Thornton, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins.