When you are building a home or modifying it, it is almost certain that you will need to hire contractors to carry out the required work. This is not a difficult thing to do as such services are always available in most towns and cities. But, at times, disputes do arise with contractors which can delay the work and even increase the cost. Such building disputes are avoidable if sufficient steps are taken to safeguard against legal construction disputes.
As a home owner, one essential step you can take before taking on such work is to ensure that you hire a contractor who is licensed. Such licensed contractors are more than likely to be well organized and therefore will have insurance, worker’s compensation policies, bonds and other things that make it easier for them to operate. Do some researches on their licenses to make sure that they have been obtained from the right statutory authorities of the area that you live in.
To lessen the chances of a dispute, first of all you need to be very clear about the structure that you want to put up or the modifications that you want to make. Have these properly listed or incorporated into drawings so that the contractor is very clear about the scope of the work. Make sure that contractor has based his quotations on your requirements. It can do no harm to even decide on the brand of the fittings or other materials to be used. Quite often disputes do arise when this is not clear.
Insist on a written contract that clearly spells out all the work that needs to be carried out. This contract must include clear specifications for the work, likely quantities, time required to carry out the work and payment schedules. On your part, you must make sure that any payment schedules are strictly adhered to so that there is no dispute that arises because of lack of payment or delay in making them. Also be very prompt in replying to any queries from the contractor, as quite often when there is delay in decisions, contractors will ask for idle time payment or require time lines to be extended.
Consulting a construction lawyer can be a good idea, before you sign on the dotted line. It may even be more sensible to get the entire contract drawn up by a contract solicitor as they will be able to avoid all chances of disputes. Ask them to advice you correctly on your own obligations in the contract, so that you never fall foul of the clauses and leave yourself vulnerable to legal action.
Most construction disputes enter the legal area when there is a lack of communication with the contractor. You can reduce the chances of this by regularly scheduling meetings at the site and in the office where, both you as the owner and the contractor as the agency carrying out the work can meet, and settle any likely bones of contention. Include mediation in the contract, as a means to solve disputes, as this can go a long way to reduce the disputes turning into a legal quagmire.
It is always in the interest of the homeowner to settle any legal construction disputes at the earliest. When you get into such a situation, it is more than likely that the work will get delayed. This can mean additional costs, as well as the inconvenience of not being able to use your home, as contractors will almost definitely get themselves legally protected to prevent your occupation. Legal disputes in construction can be avoided if contracts are clear and efforts are made to stick to all the obligations in the contract by both the interested parties.
If you have a building project that has gone wrong and find yourself in dispute with the building company you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Often a letter from a lawyer will smooth things over and can save a lot of time. However, you may need to find a lawyer who specialises in dispute resolution as the legal industry calls it. If you find yourself in this situation here is a good dispute resolution lawyer on The North Shore. You can get more details at their site.