A shocking number of construction general contractors and subcontractors tend to sign their contracts before reading them. As Jacksonville construction lawyers, we know how competitive the construction industry can be and when a job comes along, we understand the thrill of the occasion. For this reason, many may simply sign on the dotted line without thinking twice. Before you place your signature on a legally binding document, we recommend you review the following before you do.
Reviewing the Contract
Once a bid is won and a contract is awarded, everyone wants to move in haste to get the project moving quickly. If you don’t want to get stuck with unfair contract clauses, make every effort to review the contract and negotiate a better agreement. Ignorance will not stand up in a court of law. No matter the size of the project, read the contract line by line or hire a legal attorney to review your contract before celebrating your new venture.
A Well-Drafted Contract
Signing a poorly written contract is just as bad as signing a contract without reading it. Some contracts may leave out pertinent elements which can leave contractors and subcontractors with undesirable contract terms and obligations. The following is a non-exhaustive list of contract essentials that need reviewing:
- Provisions that are key to the contractual relationship
- The Scope of Work
- The list of contract documents like specifications and drawings
- If there is a recognized authority such as an owner’s representative
- The schedule of work and delays
Method of Payment
In addition to those mentioned above, payment is at the heart of many construction disputes. The contract should address the scheduling of payments, the calculated amounts, type of payments, retainage, payment authorization, payment release, and so on so forth. It’s also important to read the contract to be sure there’s no hidden fine print in the payment clause that could leave you hanging for payment in certain unforeseeable situations.
Lastly, since construction business can be risky business, disputes are bound to happen no matter how good you think your relationship is with the other party. Decide early on how you want to handle disputes. If you want to avoid going to court, include an arbitration clause, but remember you waive your right to go to court if you choose this method.
To request a consultation with an experienced Jacksonville construction lawyer, please call us today at 904.425.5030 or submit our contact request form.
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.