If you run a small construction business and have started branching out to larger projects, then you may be starting to look at contracts for the bigger jobs. These contracts must include information about the scope of work that you will complete. It is not unusual for contractors to get themselves wrapped up in lawsuits and litigation disputes that last for years and involve the scope of the job and the work completed while completing the project. If you want to minimize scope disputes, consider the following tips.
Put Everything In Writing
Construction jobs are often complicated and evolve during the building process. This is one reason why it is not abnormal for the scope of your job to change. For example, you may be asked to excavate a property before a build, and if the client decides to add a parking lot to the space, you may be asked to excavate the area too. However, if the request was not put in writing and there is a dispute later about who was and was not supposed to complete the job, you may have no proof that you were asked to complete the work, and thus, you may not be paid for it.
So, make sure that you revise your contract whenever there is a request for work completed outside the original scope of the job. When the contract is amended, have the client sign off on the change. Only complete the work once the new contract is signed and dated.
Clients will often be quite busy when a construction project is in progress. So, make sure that you ask the client for several ways to contact them, including fax and emails, so that new contracts can be signed in a timely manner. Remember that verbal contracts are enforceable in a lot of cases, but they are extremely difficult to prove, so get everything in writing.
Make Sure That Contracts Are Specific
Contracts are often created by individuals who have a good idea of the type of work that they complete when it comes to construction jobs. In other words, you know what you mean when you say excavation. However, a client may consider the cleanup of excavated material as part of the excavation process. If you do not, then you can see how this would create a scope of work conflict.
To make sure that you, your client, other contractors, and subcontractors are on the same page, make sure that all contracts are as specific as possible. Write out each task that you will complete and also indicate the ones that you will not.
If you want to know more about scope of work issues and how they can be avoided in the construction business, speak with an attorney who specializes in construction litigation like those found at Wright, Ponsoldt & Lozeau, Trial Attorneys.