There is a legal component to all construction projects that is often overlooked. Even if you feel that a job went off without a hitch, there is a chance that you could face litigation down the line. While you can't always prevent conflicts from occurring, Construction Business Owner recommends the following steps to greatly decrease the chance that issues occur.
Good record keeping is a must
If a claim is filed against you, your record keeping can make or break your case. Because it's common for contract elements to be created by different individuals (engineers will contribute specifications while your legal team will provide terms and conditions, for instance), make sure you retain all drafts of each contract component. Also, make sure you have any amendments that were drafted, as well as change orders. Filing these documents while construction is ongoing will ensure they're available if a problem occurs.
Know your local laws
Certain laws are already in place that dictate things like withholding payments for unsatisfactory work or lateness. Consult with your legal team to make sure you are fully aware of these laws, so you don't inadvertently commit a foul. Awareness will also prepare you for any legal maneuvers the other side might make. This highlights the importance of having skilled legal counsel, who will be able to anticipate issues while documents are being created and negotiated.
Be cautious with the use of email
Email is a great business tool, as it creates a record of conversations that would otherwise be untraceable. However, be wary of relying on email too much, as these records can be used in court to paint you and your company in a bad light. For instance, complaining about a component of work performed or letting go of your frustrations via email could come back to haunt you if litigation occurs. Instead, use email thoughtfully; when you're conveying detailed information to other parties, email is best. When you're discussing matters that may be a bit sensitive, stick to direct conversation or telephone.