Construction contractors in North Carolina and elsewhere need to make sure they protect themselves as they embark on any project. Doing so often means negotiating contracts that protect their interests.
Even though every contract will have terms unique to each particular project, some essentials should end up in every contract. Including the following essentials could help a contract stand up to the scrutiny of a court should a dispute arise that requires litigation.
The three basic elements every contract needs
Below are three basic elements that every contract should contain:
- The offer — You or the other party makes an offer to provide goods or services to the other.
- The acceptance — You or the other party accepts the offer.
- The consideration — You or the other party agrees to provide certain consideration, or payment, for the goods or services provided.
These three elements make up the core of the contract. In your case, you will most likely offer to complete a construction project within a certain amount, and the other party agrees to pay you a certain amount of money in return. Of course, this description is an oversimplification of what your agreement with the developer or property owner is, but it gives you an idea of the framework or outline of what you need to include in your contract.
The other elements your contract needs
In addition to the above, including the following in your contract could make it easier to litigate any disputes since they will help the court determine that a valid contract exists and that all parties entered into it voluntarily and with a full understanding of their obligations.
- The legal capacity — You and the other party must have the legal capacity and ability to enter into a contract. For instance, you must be at least 18 years of age, not suffering from a mental condition and more.
- The meeting of the minds and consent — All parties must enter into the contract voluntarily, by mutual agreement and consent. Neither of you should feel forced into the agreement.
- The written documentation — Having the contract in writing helps avoid any contradictions or confusion between the parties. If it’s written down in the contract everyone agreed and consented to, there should be no question regarding each party’s obligations under it.
Parties should understand that these elements represent only the outline for a contract. Even though it may be possible for you to put together an adequate contract on your own, it is not advisable. Each project you agree to do will have its own needs, individuals and idiosyncrasies. It would certainly benefit you greatly to work with a construction law attorney who can help you create the best contract possible for each job in order to better protect yourself in the event a dispute arises.