Law Office of Henry B. LaTorraca Civil Trial Attorney

Clear contracting can help avoid construction disputes

When people and businesses in California enter into a contract for a construction project, it is critical that the text be complete and accurate. By ensuring that contracts, insurance policies and other key documents spell out necessary details, investors and contractors can help to avoid costly, lengthy disputes and claims. In order to get a project started on the right foot, it is important that all parties read and understand the contract and related documents. All of the provisions, from the scope of the project to the expected timetable, should be accurate, consistent and comprehensive.

While construction attorneys often advise careful attention to the contracts involved in a project, many contractors and investors fail to take heed of this wisdom. As a result, conflicts can begin to develop from the earliest days of a project. For example, many documents are included by reference rather than physically reprinted in the contract, such as drawings, regulations and safety policies. When people involved in the project are not familiar with these documents, misunderstandings can arise quickly. Many people may not realize that these documents, once incorporated by reference, are just as binding as the contract text.

Before signing on to a contract, contractors, subcontractors, investors, owners and others should read the contract and all incorporated documents. While the paperwork burden can be heavy, the savings from avoiding disputes can be immense. In addition, contractors may need to clarify how far their responsibilities extend and whether they are involved with project design as well as execution. The procedure for making changes should also be clear.

Construction projects can be major undertakings that involve substantial investments of time and money. By working with a construction attorney, investors, contractors and other parties can ensure that their contracts are precise and accurate and work to avoid and resolve contract disputes before they begin.

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