Ambiguities are common in construction contracts for numerous reasons. As a St. Petersburg construction lawyer, we know that contract ambiguities are typically a result of the combination of different contract terms, such as change orders, general conditions, or the principal agreement, into one single contract. It’s important to avoid ambiguity when drafting a contract. This will make it easier to negotiate the contract terms and avoid lengthy and costly legal disputes. We’ve provided a few tips to keep in mind when trying to avoid ambiguities.
1. Keep It Clear And Concise
When drafting a contract, be clear and concise. Instead of filling the contract with complicated jargon, try keeping your writing clear and straight to the point. This will decrease redundancy and make the contract easier to read and understand.
2. Include Everything
As St. Petersburg construction lawyers, we recommend that you include 100 percent of your agreement in your contract. In the event that there is a dispute and you end up in court, the court may veto the use of other documents if your contract seems complete and comprehensive on a surface level. This is a disadvantage for you, because other documents, such as pre-bid statements or negotiations may be helpful for your case. Because these documents may help with your case, it’s recommended you include all key terms of the deal in the contract, or at least integrate those key documents by reference.
3. Defining Key Terms
In court cases, parties frequently disagree on what terms mean in certain contexts. This can be avoided if you take the time to define all key terms and their meanings in the contract. Another tip is to then capitalize that term, and keep it capitalized throughout the contract. By doing this, your terms cannot be distorted from the context and interpreted incorrectly.
4. Don’t Forget An Order-Of-Precedence Clause
Countless documents make up construction contracts, making it easy for conflicts to emerge regarding what is included inside the documents, i.e., blueprints or drawings. There are a few ways to prevent these conflicts from happening. The most common way is by adding an Order-Of-Precedence clause. This clause will ensure that in the event of a dispute, the blueprints should take priority over the drawings, or that the documents in the contract have an order in priority.
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.