While a construction contract should outline the contractual duties of all parties involved, it should also serve as a tool to mitigate risks that can occur during the course of a project. When entering a contract it is recommended to review and discuss the document with your Brandon construction lawyer, so you understand your contractual duties.
Here are some important areas of the contract to discuss with your lawyer:
Parties Under Contract
All construction contracts should identify the parties involved in the project, typically an owner and a contractor or a contractor and a subcontractor. Special attention should be given to how you are represented on the contract. To protect your personal assets should a dispute arise, make sure that the business entity and not you as an individual is identified as the party entering the agreement.
The contractual expectations are the most important details to discuss with your Brandon construction attorney because they provide a detailed outline of each party’s legal obligations. Make sure you know what you are agreeing to and thoughtfully consider what is left out. Requested work that falls outside of the contract will require a mutually agreed upon change order. It is best to leave no room for ambiguity. From the materials to who will be onsite, don’t allow details to be misinterpreted later on in the project.
If the owner wants the project completed by a certain deadline, make sure the time frame is reasonable and you are able to meet this expectation. A project going beyond an agreed upon date can be reason for a contractual dispute, so protect your business before the project begins.
How cost will be determined and dispersed is another area to make sure is designed to protect your best interest. For example, with a lump sum payment option, a price is given for the project and materials as a whole. If costs go over the price outlined in the contract, it is typically the contractor’s responsibility to bear the loss. A better option might be a cost plus fee option, where the owner agrees to pay for all materials plus a flat rate for labor.
It is also important to determine exactly how payments will be dispersed. Whether payments are incremental throughout the project, made at the end of each month, or at the close of the project, know how you are getting paid before providing your services.
Before signing a contract, discuss dispute resolution provisions. If a dispute arises and you sign an arbitration clause, you will have waived your right to file suit. Instead, compensation for damages will be decided by an arbitrator or arbitration panel.
When will the project end? This is important to understand and identify because it is the end of your contractual duties per the agreement. Will the project expire once work is completed or will you be legally responsible for defects for a agreed upon time after the work is completed? Also, decide if the contract can be mutually terminated because of unforeseen variables that may arise. This area is best reviewed or drafted with a construction lawyer in Brandon to ensure the project successfully comes to a close.
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.