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What can contractors do when they’re sent defective supplies?

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2023 | Construction Litigation |

Contractors and other professionals in the construction industry have to account for all kinds of variables when negotiating contracts with new or existing clients. After all, one never knows when inclement weather or other issues might suddenly interrupt a project, drastically alter the proposed timeline or cause significant changes in the estimated budget for the project.

One of the worst and most frustrating situations that could occur involves a supplier providing defective materials that are critical for a project’s completion. Perhaps there is mold already contaminating drywall ordered from a supplier, or they deliver warped hardwood flooring. When the materials received do not meet the standards for the project or the client’s expectations, what can a contractor or construction company executive do?

They will need to communicate with the client

Even if there’s a good chance of resolving the matter with the supplier and obtaining replacement materials, a contractor will still want to notify their client about the supply issue as soon as possible. That way, the client understands that there could potentially be a delay while the contractor seeks to resolve the matter.

Particularly when a client has provided very specific requirements for the functionality or aesthetic qualities of the final product or when they made the timeline for project completion one of their top priorities during negotiations, transparent discussions about matters that may alter the final project or delay its completion will be of the utmost importance. Contractors can reduce the likelihood that a dissatisfied or disappointed client will choose to take legal action against them by trying to hold them accountable for construction defects that are actually related to problems with the materials provided.

They should prepare for the possibility of court

Although some professionals might think that handling the matter quietly is the best solution, there’s never any guarantee of a quick resolution to a dispute with a supplier. Contractors may need to go to court to enforce their contract with the supplier. It may be necessary to take that supplier to court in order to compel them to deliver the right materials or to refund what someone paid for the defective materials delivered. That litigation will likely create a delay in the project or expose the company to financial strain, as the company may need to pay another supplier for replacement materials while waiting to resolve the matter.

Knowing what steps to take can make handling a supplier issue less stressful for construction professionals. Seeking legal guidance can also help to ensure that one’s interests are safeguarded as the situation evolves.

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