Construction Contract Drafting By Construction Law Experts

Many people may think that the foundation is the most important aspect of a construction project. In actuality, however, the most crucial component to a construction project is the governing document — that is, the construction contract. To discover the appropriate measures to drafting a construction contract, rely on experienced construction lawyers at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A.  

The Makings of A Proper Construction Contract

Construction contracts are utilized to govern construction projects. They should be clear, specific and detailed so that every contributor knows exactly what is expected and required of them. Proper construction contracts should outline the following:

  • Scope of work of each participating party
  • Expected duration of work
  • Form and timeframe of payment
  • Form and timeframe of distribution of benefits
  • Materials and supplies
  • Estimated completion of project
  • Warranties and bonds
  • Anticipated project changes and detailed plan on how to handle delays and/or unforeseen circumstances (i.e. harsh weather conditions)

The construction contract should also have a Severability Clause. This important provision ensures that in the event that a section of the contract becomes invalid, the remaining sections will continue to be enforceable. Without the severability clause, the contract may be considered void and invalid altogether. AA construction attorney can help guide you through the construction contract drafting process to protect you from common pitfalls.

Common Contract Issues

Issues involved with contracts, even the most minor of problems, can create problems for everyone involved in a construction project. These issues can create delays, dampen relationships and even lead to complex construction lawsuits. It is best to work with an experienced Gainesville construction lawyer to craft a contract that lacks flaws.

Time to Complete Project in Florida

Construction projects often have strict completion dates for subcontractors. If one task is not completed on time, the next cannot begin until it is finished. Therefore, it is vital to clearly state all scheduling requirements in the contract. Often, there is a fair amount of leeway in regards to the dates recorded in a contract as long as a project is completed within “a reasonable time”. However, if the phrase “time is of the essence” is written next to a clause, it will be taken much more seriously by a judge. If a contractor does not have a valid reason for causing a delay, they are guilty of breaching the material contract. Yet, the director does have the power to allow the contractor to complete the project if an expert witness testifies that there has already been reasonable progress.

In the event of a delay, the party that has suffered the delay can sue for damages. The cost of delays can be quite difficult to calculate. Therefore, liquidated damages clauses should be added to the construction contract. It outlines a specific amount of money per day the affected party will receive if the other party has caused the delay. If the actual cost of the damages can be calculated, the judge will opt for this method instead. The party being accused of breaching the contract can also request that the actual costs be calculated if they believe the liquidated damages would cost them much more money.

Gainesville Warranty Disputes

All construction projects have a variety of warranties in place to guarantee a quality final product. There are two types of warranties: expressed and implied. Expressed warranties are clearly defined in the contract while implied warranties are not necessarily written in the contract but are upheld by state laws. Though many quality standards may be expressed in the contract, implied warranties apply to any topics that were not clearly addressed before the project began. Implied warranties also vary depending on the state you live in. In Florida, the common ones include:

  • Warranty of Good Workmanship
  • Implied Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
  • Warranty of Habitability
  • Implied Warranty of Plans and Specifications

Warranty of good workmanship does not insinuate that the construction should represent the best quality possible. Instead, it simply states the product should satisfy normal societal standards. The owner or contractor may choose to create express warranties that require a higher quality result that will negate this implied warranty. An implied duty of good faith warranty ensures an overall respectable work ethic and results. It discourages any actions that may be interfering with the ability of another party to complete a task, abusing power or a willingly generating an imperfect product. The warranty of habitability ensures the final product meets the minimum requirements to be habitable. Finally, the implied warranty of plans and specifications encourages contractors and subcontractors to adhere to all specifications that have been outlined by the general contractor or owner.

Risk Management

In most cases, contract issues center around poor risk management. Construction projects require a lot of time and money, and since structures are primarily worked on outdoors, there are a myriad of circumstances that may complicate and/or prolong the process. A contract’s failure to address how a construction team will handle unforeseen circumstances (i.e. harsh weather conditions) for example, indicates that a given construction team will not have any direction moving forward when a delay of construction failure occurs. Gainesville construction lawyers at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A. can help you anticipate common causes of construction problems, as well as proven effective strategies to combat those obstacles, in order to provide your construction team with a comprehensive, detailed plan on handling unwanted events.

In addition, many construction disputes extend from the lack of insurance and/or lack of understanding among participating parties of an insurance policy. Whether it is an insurance policy intended to protect the property of suppliers, or if it comes in the form of workers’ compensation to protect injured employees, insurance policies are vital to the construction drafting process. When companies fail to outline the terms and conditions of the insurance carrier, thousands of dollars can be lost in damages, injuries and even delays of construction projects. By relying on a Gainesville attorney at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A. you can trait that your legal representation will involve consistent communication with the insurance provider before completion of your contract. With clear and specific explanations of numerical percentages and complex language, our construction lawyers will ensure that the insurance aspect of your contract precisely protects you against unnecessary risks.

Experienced Construction Attorneys in Gainesville, FL

At Warner, Sechrest & Butts, P.A., know that we have numerous years of combined experience in construction law, construction litigation and even the construction field. What makes our Gainesville construction law firm the best in the region is that our legal experts are well-versed on both construction law and business tactics. Because of these combined skills and experiences, our team can assist you with drafting an effective contract for your construction project that protects you and your team from unnecessary issues and disputes.

Contact one of our Gainesville construction law firms today.