In the construction industry, it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” the next dispute will emerge. Contractors are faced with a myriad of project concerns — demanding working conditions, inclement weather, cash flow issues — all of which can result in a dispute. However, none of these are the number one cause of construction disputes in the world. Below, a Houston contractor attorney with Cotney Law discusses scope of work changes and, most importantly, how contractors can prevent these unforeseen hurdles from leading to costly legal disputes.
A Universal Problem
As Construction Dive reports, the 2019 “CRUX Insight: A Global Sector Market Analysis” details disputes and their causation factors. In this report, over 4,000 causes are identified across 700 projects around the world. It concludes that the leading cause of construction disputes was a lack of control over scope of work. While it’s easy to point at “scope of work” as the culprit, there were other causes brought up that should not be ignored: poor contract drafting, skills gaps, language gaps, and overinflated claims. All of these causes can compound and cause serious issues for even the most experienced contractors.
How Can Contractors Adapt?
The above findings highlight a serious issue: the industry is struggling to adapt to delays, disruptions, and growing costs. While construction software and data analysis can be an incredible boon for contractors, the report itself states that they can do little to prevent disputes that result from human error. Your best bet for mitigating disputes is to negotiate how scope of work changes are to be handled when it matters the most: the construction contract. Scope of work, project timelines, and payment schedules are all things that should be laid out in your contract.
Facing the Inevitable
As mentioned above, construction disputes are inevitable, regardless of the amount of foresight, planning, technology, and expertise brought to the table. When a dispute does emerge, your contract should again stipulate how it will be resolved. Hopefully, an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) clause is already included. If not, our Houston contractor attorneys are standing by to assist you.
At Cotney Law, our attorneys routinely assist contractors, subcontractors, architects, suppliers, and other industry professionals with contract drafting, reviewing, and negotiating. We also provide representation during litigation or ADR processes. For a legal professional who will work tirelessly to prevent disputes and fiercely defend you during a dispute, partner with a Houston contractor attorney from Cotney Law.
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.