When you work in construction, you know that delays are inevitable. Supply orders get interrupted by everything from shipping problems to bad weather. A contractor’s best-laid plans can erupt into chaos on another job and put them behind on yours. Even worse, clients can ask for sudden changes to work orders — and fail to understand that there’s a time factor involved in every change order.
So what can you do to keep yourself (and your business) out of lawsuits? Here are some tips:
- Make your plans carefully: You know that delays and problems happen, so plan for them. If you schedule extra time on a project to make room for the unexpected, you’re less likely to be rushed to fulfill your promises.
- Get a construction manager: If you’re too busy to take on the role yourself, make sure that you have someone in charge of coordinating the efforts between your designers, suppliers and subcontractors. That can minimize conflicts and miscommunications that will later cause unnecessary delays.
- Make clear communication a priority. If you have a conversation with an owner or developer about some changes, follow up with an email that confirms everything that was said. Make sure that important details — including how long a change order may delay the current construction — are included. (Even if the other party doesn’t read it, it’s the best way to cover your bases if the issue does end up in court.)
If it does seem like a construction dispute will turn serious, make sure that you find out more about your legal options. Many disputes can be resolved with some experienced legal assistance without ending up in court.