Construction Contract Dispute Attorneys
Contracts are the rules of the road in the construction industry, and contract disputes are common, especially in commercial construction. In some instances, reason prevails and the parties are able to resolve disputes through common sense and good contract planning. Other times, conflict is unavoidable and a party must pursue legal action to protect themselves, their company or their project.
Common Construction Disputes
Due to the complex nature of construction projects, disputes may develop at any point during the project. Whether two parties or multiple parties are involved, the dispute can affect every aspect of construction. If your project has become embroiled in a construction dispute, contact the construction lawyers in Gainesville with Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A. Our board-certified attorneys will research and review all types of construction disputes, including these common examples.
Scope Of Work
Many contract disputes and construction disagreements surround scope of work. This situation generally involves the owner, general contractor, subcontractor, and design professionals. Scope of work disputes arise when one party interprets the scope of work differently than another, especially if the responsibilities are ambiguous in the plans and specifications. If your construction project is brought to a halt due to a scope of work dispute, contact the attorneys with Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A. for a quick and effective resolution.
Differing Site Conditions
Generally, the owner has a duty to disclose all information regarding current site conditions before construction begins. Yet, a contractor and/or subcontractor is responsible for discovering the conditions as long as it’s done through a reasonable investigation. If differing site conditions are discovered during construction, the contractor and/or subcontractor is usually eligible for additional funds and time to adjust for the site conditions.
Most change order disputes hinge on the extra cost the affected party will incur along with whether they are entitled to an extended amount of time to complete the change order. It’s not uncommon for change orders to affect the entire construction project which makes timely resolution even more important to keep the project on schedule.
The majority of construction contract disputes involving construction defects develop after work on the project has finished. But, a dispute may occur if the owner identifies work that doesn’t follow the contracted plans and the contractor or subcontractor disagrees. Conversely, the contractor or subcontractor may have grounds for a claim against the owner if the work was completed following the contracted plans.
Project Access & Construction Sequencing
Project access and construction sequencing may come into question of action or inaction by the owner interferes with ongoing construction. Examples of how access may be obstructed include not obtaining required easements or permits; lack of coordination between more than one contractors; and not providing owner-supplied equipment in a timely manner.
Breach Of Contract Disputes
Each construction contract outlines the expectations and responsibilities of each involved party. If a party does not complete their part of the contract, a breach of contract occurs. Because a breach of contract can slow or halt a construction project, it’s important to promptly contact the construction dispute lawyers with Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A. The performing party may be entitled to damages as a remedy for the breach.
Consequential damages are an amount of money that would put the performing party in the same financial position they would be in had the contract been upheld.
Liquidated damages are written into the contract and agreed to by both parties; the amount is paid when a breach of contract occurs.
If nominal damages are awarded, a minimal financial amount is given to the performing party when the party was successful in their claim but did not suffer a great financial loss from the breach of contract.
How to Avoid Construction Contract Disputes
The best way to ensure a successful outcome from a construction contract dispute is to avoid one altogether. It is crucial that both parties fully read through and understand the contract including general conditions, special conditions, addenda, technical specifications and project drawings. If the contract is one-sided or proposes an unreasonable schedule, parties should begin negotiation procedures until they are satisfied. Only then, should this document be verified. If you have any difficulties understanding the fine print or complex language used in the construction contract, be sure to consult an attorney for assistance.
Types of Contract Dispute Resolutions in Florida
There are three different forms of contract dispute resolution, which are arbitration, mediation, and litigation. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages so it is best to fully understand your options before you choose any of them.
- Mediation uses a third-party, neutral mediator to facilitate conversations between both parties. Any resolutions that are created are not legally binding and the cost of this process is divided equally.
- Arbitration uses a neutral person or panel to listen to both sides of a dispute and provides a solution. Typically this decision is not legally binding, however, often both parties can opt to make it legally binding. This method tends to be relatively quick and inexpensive, however the costs can quickly accumulate.
- Litigation is the most well-known resolution method and uses a judge or jury to create a binding decision. This method is much more expensive, especially if a jury is used, and requires a much more lengthy process.
Each dispute resolution aims to find an appropriate remedy for the contract dispute. State laws, the extent of damage, and other factors affect what type of remedy may be used. Common examples of construction dispute remedies include:
- Monetary Damages: The awarded monies cover accidents, materials, property damage, and other losses related to the construction project.
- Court Injunctions: This type of remedy is generally used to stop construction in situations where other property would be harmed if construction continued or to order the completion of a project.
- Court Orders: A court may order a change of materials or for construction defects to be repaired.
A board-certified Gainesville construction lawyer with Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A. can review your case and provide guidance as to what legal remedies are available for the situation. Contact our law firm today to schedule a consultation.
Factors to Consider Before Pursuing Your Gainesville Case
Before a party chooses to pursue one of these forms of resolution, it is important to complete legal research and figure out if the claimant has a chance to benefit from these procedures. The main factors you will want to consider are liability, damages, and collectability.
- Is the other party legally held liable according to the contract?
- Are you able to provide evidence they are in breach of contract or have been negligent?
Be sure to review the contract and make sure the language does not protect them in these areas first. Next, you will want to determine if you have any damages. However, before you proceed, figure out if they are protected by the terms of the contract or have the potential to make a more significant counterclaim against you. Finally, analyze the potential benefits, such as whether there a variety of construction bonds or insurance in place to compensate you after a decision is made. If not, the legal procedures might cost more than your compensation.
Construction Attorneys in Gainesville, FL
If you need a lawyer to review your construction contract before you sign, explain your options or assist you in making a claim, contact the construction law lawyers at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A. Our experience handling similar construction claims allows us to provide you with the best chance in court. Contact us today for a free consultation.