Construction disputes can be very complex, time consuming and expensive. Whilst it will never be possible to completely eradicate the risk of a dispute arising some simple steps can be taken to minimise the risk.
Get the contract in writing
Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) or New Engineering Contracts (NEC) template contracts can be used and will be sufficient for most situations. However, where they are not, a bespoke agreement could be used. This will ensure the parties know their obligations and have a framework from which to try to resolve any disputes which arise.
Read the contract
Make sure you fully understand your obligations under the contract. You need to know what works are to be done, how they are to be done and when they need to be done by. You also need to know any time limits for serving notices.
Variations to contract
There will be occasions when the contract will need to be changed and your contract should make provision for how "Variations" are to be dealt with. If the contract requires written confirmation of variations (which is the most common approach), do not accept verbal confirmation. If the contract does not make any specific variation provisions then make sure that all changes are agreed in writing before the variation starts. Records can be invaluable in resolving disputes. For example, ensure day work sheets are signed and record any problems which prevent you from progressing your works.
It may be possible to address delays and problems before they arise. Speak to all parties as soon as any problems arise or appear likely to arise. Standard construction contracts will often provide for the service of notices where such problems or delays may arise. It is essential that those notices are served correctly and on time.
Whilst acting in this way you will not necessarily avoid a dispute arising between parties, but hopefully it will help to minimise the risk. In the event a dispute does arise Gepp & Sons can help you try to resolve the dispute in the most cost and time effective manner.
For further information on our service please contact Justin Emerson on 01245 228113 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.