In the second half of this article, we continue our discussion on contract ambiguity and how to avoid it. Ambiguity in a construction contract can lead to disputes, costing contractors time and money. By following just a few simple steps, contractors can significantly decrease the chance of a court finding their scope of work ambiguous. To view the first half of this article, please visit Part 1.
Don’t Leave Out Anything
A rule of thumb when drafting your contract’s scope of work, don’t leave out anything. As Jacksonville construction lawyers, we highly recommend that you include all of your agreement in your contract. If a dispute occurs during the project and you and the other party end up in a courtroom, if your contract seems incomplete they may veto the use of other documents. This would be a big disadvantage, because other documents you could potentially use, such as pre-bid statements, might be helpful for the case. To avoid having extra documents vetoed, include all of the key terms in your contract.
Defining Your Key Terms
As we mentioned above, it’s important to include all key terms in your contract. During court proceedings, parties tend to disagree on what terms might mean in different contexts. If a contractor defines all of their key terms thoroughly in the contract, that can be avoided. We suggest you take it a step further and capitalize the term consistently throughout the contract, so they cannot be taken out of context.
There are many documents that make up a construction contract. It’s not hard for disputes to arise about what is included inside the documents, for example, blueprints or drawings. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to add an Order-Of-Precedence clause. This clause will make sure that if there is a dispute, the documents in the contract have a certain order in priority, i.e., the blueprints are more of a priority than the drawings.
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.