Construction Dispute Resolution & Contract Protection
No one wants a serious construction dispute, but it happens sometimes. In my 35 years of construction and arbitration experience I've learned many lessons, but one stands out clearly at the very top:
Firstly, you must provide good Bid Instructions to all subcontractors bidding/pricing your project. I can set up "Bid Instructions" that include eveything required, and correctly refer to all the necessary building contract documents so your bids are meaningful.
Secondly, you must provide your own contract to all subcontractors you want to hire. I've had hundreds of contracts given to me by subcontractors in my career, but never once have I received one that was completely unbiased and fair. Never sign any contract given to you! Because of my legal experience over the years I've developed one of the best building contracts available anywhere.
I require subcontractors to sign my contract or I don't hire them. I have been using my contract for 20 years, and no subcontractor has refused to sign it. At times I've agreed to make a few minor modifications, which did not undermine my protection, but that is all.
And finally you must have the necessary construction mediation and arbitration contract language in your Subcontractor contracts. So, if you have a dispute which cannot be resolved, the dispute must go to binding mediation or arbitration. Both are final, and both are significantly faster and less expensive than what most people think of as "going to court". And most importantly, your chances of getting a fair and just decision are greatly improved with mediation and arbitration!
Staying out of a dispute in the first place and successful dispute resolution, if you do get into a dispute, has everything to do with correctly written subcontractor "Bid Instructions" and "Building Contracts". Your chances of staying out of a construction dispute in the first place or obtaining a fair and just legal decision, if you do get into a dispute, comes from proper legal preparation in the form of good Bid Instructions and a good subcontractor contract.
Copyright Don Hannah Construction Consulting 2008