Successful contractors understand the necessity of comprehensive documentation. Every construction transaction features a litany of contracts, notices, and other important documents. It’s a lot to keep up with, but doing so is absolutely vital if you want to not only maintain a paper trail of revenue but also protect yourself against any litigious claims that aren’t supported by fact.
In this brief article, a Jacksonville construction lawyer will discuss five important construction items that should be maintained in your records. By doing so, whenever a claim or a dispute arises, your lawyer will have the information they need to protect your business. You can’t be expected to remember every nuanced detail of your deals, so allow your records to do the hard work for you; and allow the Jacksonville construction lawyers at Cotney Construction Law to handle all of your construction-related legal needs.
1. Subcontractor and Material Bids
You need to know who you’re paying and how much you’re paying them. Documenting subcontractor and material bids ensures that you aren’t paying for the same services or materials twice. If you’re looking to improve your business processes, it starts with tracking these bids.
2. Bids and Proposals
You should also keep track of your bids and proposals. Keep copies for reference. If at some point during a project the owner challenges your recollection of the original scope of work, you’ll have the original bid and proposal on hand to snuff out their faulty claim. You can also reference past bids and proposals to help you put together successful bid packages on future projects.
3. Written, Verbal, and Electronic Correspondence
Every time you discuss a project with a subcontractor, supplier, owner, or anyone else involved, you want to be able to reference this conversation for later use. Any written and electronic correspondence should be recorded and stored in a physical or electronic filing system. If agreements are made verbally, make a note of them by recording the time, date, and details of the interaction. Verbal deals are most effective when made in the presence of a third-party or witness.
4. Change Orders
Change orders are a frustrating, albeit necessary, aspect of construction. Owners change their minds, and contractors who want to form long-lasting professional partnerships are willing to make the necessary changes — for the right price. That said, you can’t afford to accept change orders without documentation. These requests for additional work go beyond the scope of the original contract, which means you have no reason to foot the bill.
Related: Managing Change Orders
5. Material Cost Data
Over the years, your construction business will naturally yield some valuable data for you to reflect on. Material cost data is one such datapoint that should be looked at closely. Are your material costs increasing or decreasing on a yearly basis? Or are they stuck on a plateau? This information will let you know if you need to search for new vendors to help reduce your materials costs.
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.