There is arguably no greater measure of a project’s potential for success than the contract it is built upon. Superior contracts yield superior results, a well-worn truth that simply cannot be ignored, and it is for this reason that many contractors partner with an attorney who is well-versed in the nuances of construction law before proceeding with any project. When contractors work with a construction attorney to review, negotiate, and draft contracts, they can rest assured knowing that their best interests have been accounted for.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”
Negotiations are characterized by back-and-forth interactions, which means failing to speak up when something seems off is the polar opposite of an authentic negotiation. Many contractors are worried that drawing a line in the sand will result in a lost opportunity, but engaging with an owner who plans to utilize a faulty contract to “pull a fast one” is hardly time well spent. Wouldn’t you agree?
2. Include an Alternative Dispute Resolution Clause
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to methods for resolving disputes that don’t require both parties to meet in a court of law to battle it out. When your contract includes a clause that permits the use of ADR, you can resolve disputes without costly and time-consuming litigation. Consult a Tallahassee construction mediation attorney to learn more about how you can curtail disputes by avoiding litigation.
3. Let a Tallahassee Construction Dispute Attorney Negotiate on Your Behalf
Negotiating your own contracts can be difficult. Most contractor-owner relationships are tenuous from the get-go, which makes asserting yourself at the negotiating table a tall order, especially when the contract value is right in front of you tempting you to ignore your better judgment. This is why it’s better to avoid this meeting altogether, or at the very least, have a Tallahassee construction dispute attorney attend it with you to take over negotiations on your behalf. When an attorney speaks up for you, it keeps negotiations neutral and eliminates the pressure to accept terms you will later regret.
4. Familiarize Yourself With Important Clauses
Scope of work, quality standards, and warranties could be your undoing if you fail to account for them in your contract. For example, a poorly defined scope of work could be interpreted to mean that you’re accountable for more work than you originally expected. You should also include clear language describing how you’ll complete the project to ensure that quality standards are satisfied. The same principle holds true for warranties, which must match those described in the contract to avoid potential delays or, later on, defect claims.
Related: Critical Contract Clauses
5. Build Rapport
Relationships are integral to the construction industry. Everytime an owner decides to invest in a project, they are taking a significant financial risk, which means they’re more likely to lower their guard if they trust the contractor they are working with. For this reason, it’s always best to establish a rapport with any owners you work with, even those who created problems requiring the assistance of a Tallahassee construction mediation attorney. The more you work with an owner, the more trusting they will become, which means a reduced need for negotiations and superior contracts.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.