When a dispute presents itself on a construction project, it is often the contract that will decide how it is handled. It is for this reason that construction contracts require clear, concise language. Too often, construction disputes lead to litigation because unclear language causes a variance in expectations. In this two-part article, a Greensboro construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law will describe the dangers of unclear contract language and how to avoid it.
What Can Go Wrong?
If the scope of work is not clearly stated in the contract, project expectations can become a chasm between the contractor and owner. Something as simple as the description of a staircase could become a serious point of contention. How high should the staircase be? Is it winding? What is the staircase made of? If these questions aren’t answered in the design plan approved in the contract, your construction project could hit a brick wall, and any additional costs could be taken on by the contractor.
Problems can also occur well into a project if unclear language is used in the contract. For example, an owner could later demand that a specific material be used for a project if the contract never clarifies what type of material should have been used. Since the contract never called for a specific material, the owner could then turn around and refuse to pay for the additional cost of the material.
When a contract dispute arises due to unclear language, the relationship between contractor and owner may need to be patched up through alternative dispute resolution. However, our Greensboro construction law firm knows that even dispute resolution can be tainted by the unclear language of a contract.
Does the contract state if the contractor has a chance to fix any problems that have occurred before litigation is sought? Is there an approved, third-party arbitrator who can easily settle the dispute? Who are the attorneys involved? What are the specific state and county laws that need to be followed? From conception to conflict resolution, unclear construction contract language can lead to all sorts of problems. Before things get out of hand, consult a Greensboro construction attorney to arm yourself against a potential dispute.
For more information on the importance of clear language in construction contracts, please read part two.
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.