5 Ways to Avoid Legal Bumps During Building Construction
The construction industry is faced with legal risks that must be considered daily. The intensity of the work, exposure to hazardous conditions, and many other factors ensure that this is something that simply can't be ignored. From employee safety to physical damages, just about every area of construction can present the risk of a lawsuit being filed.
This doesn't mean that lawsuits are inevitable and should just be taken as a part of the business even though in its own sense it is. Staying aware of the risks and having processes in place can help you minimize the risk that faced during building construction. Here are a few ways that you can ensure you and/or your company isn't put into legal jeopardy.
Show Up Prepared & Get It in Writing
Contracts are part of the backbone of the construction industry. It's not because it's the way that it has been done for years, as it's meant to add a layer of protection for those involved in the construction project. This includes architects, building managers, contractors, owners, and sub-contractors as well as anyone else directly involved with the project on a management level.
Each contract needs to outline the responsibilities of each party. Another thing that's covered is any procedures when it comes to performing construction duties. This includes ensuring heavy equipment is operated properly, safety practices are put into effect, and that any environmental hazards are properly managed. By allocating risk, you're ensuring that you are only liable for what you're directly responsible for, not something someone else may be responsible for.
Don't Cut Corners & Heighten Danger
In the construction industry, competition is fierce. This means lower bids are placed and contractors are forced to be innovative when it comes to their pricing strategies. One of the ways that many choose it to reduce the costs of construction. However, this isn't always a good thing.
Reducing expenses in critical areas sometimes mean that certain processes must be cut out. If it's a process that involves safety this could poses as a huge legal liability one can't afford to have. Let's dig into this a little deeper to get a full picture of this detrimental situation many have had to face.
One of the leading causes of accidents in the construction industry is fall-related. This is also one of the costliest accidents, as a worker falling can cost up to $106,000 in worker's compensation. This doesn't include any extra costs associated with this type of workplace accident. Sure, saving a prospective job is great but not if you're forced to pay out on these types of accidents.
There is a proper way to go about this safely while still enabling a contractor to keep their bids competitive and their costs lower. By implementing an effective safety plan, implementing jobsite inspections, and providing proper training you can make it safer for your employees and make sure that workplace accidents don't cost you tons during a legal dispute.
Manage Sub-Contractors Properly
Choosing subcontractors is where it all starts. Make sure that you check into them to make sure that they have a track record for completing projects safely and effectively. The last thing you need is to be held responsible for something the sub-contractor ended up doing.
While proper selection is essential, so is the need to draft up a bulletproof contract that makes sure they're held responsible for their actions and anything that their employees do. Otherwise you will be held solely responsible by the owner who hired you, and that could lead to a costly experience. After all, if there's legal repercussions the sub-contractor won't be going to court if their contract doesn't require them to do so. You can't afford to ignore this as it's one of the biggest sources of liability for contractors today.
One more thing that you can do is evaluate their safety procedures to see whether they properly align with your vision. This also demonstrates the level of safety within their company and whether it helps you prevent legal backlash. If their safety procedures aren't solid this is where you can ask for adaptation or choose a sub-contractor that does have a solid process in place for ensuring safety.
Missing Deadlines Can Be Toxic
In the world of business, deadlines are everything. They need things to be done in a timely manner and they must schedule certain things around completion dates. Sometimes an expansion or new building construction is the enablement they need to take their company to the next level. Therefore, it's critical that you embrace the deadlines set forth and meet them as much as possible.
The construction industry is a place where deadlines being delayed are sometimes unpreventable. A delay in construction materials, labor shortage, and bad weather are just a few of the causes of construction contractors not meeting the deadlines set forth in their initial contract.
Thankfully there are times where you can legally protect yourself if the project isn't going to be finished on time. Making an amendment is how you can go about doing this, as it creates a legal document that you draft up with the customer to get approval for a deadline extension. Instead of putting you in breach of a construction contract, it prevents the opportunity for them to take you to court.
Maintain Strong Communication with Owners
Keeping an open line of communication is what will ultimately protect you in the long run. If you have the owners on your side during the construction project, you'll be less likely to have to be fighting them in court. They will also be more apt to provide you with a little bit of breathing room should it be something that you need to be able to take advantage of. Of course, there are times when even this won't prevent legal implications from arising.
If you find yourself dealing with unavoidable legal complications, there is still hope. You just need someone on your side that understands the law and the construction industry both. Someone like Litigation Law Boss who will storm in to get your back.
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