Every time you start a new construction job, whether you are a contractor, subcontractor, supplier or some other link in the chain, you open yourself up to disputes.

However, even though disputes may be inevitable, litigation is not. Here are some ways you can avoid lawsuits and strengthen your construction business.

Put everything in writing

One of the first steps is to always put everything in writing. Do not rely on an oral agreement and a handshake to solidify a business decision. When you create your contract, make sure it hits all the details as well as the standard legal language.  The more specific you are in your terms and conditions, the better off you will be.

Change orders are a common necessity in construction. A change order is formal modification to the contract to adjust scope, price, and time.  Just like your contract, put all the details in writing with as much specificity as possible.

Address disputes before they arise

Sometimes disputes cannot be avoided depending on the parties.  If red-flags start to arise – document, document, document.  This means taking lots of pictures.  This means regular explanatory emails to the other side and to your file reporting on project conditions, and any issues caused by other side respecting contract performance.  This means consulting with your attorney and reviewing the contract with respect to any notice of claim provisions.