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New York Construction Law Blog

Why contractors notify clients in writing about material changes

Posted by Karl Silverberg | Jan 07, 2022 | 0 Comments

The client that paid you to remodel their luxury home wanted a specific, exotic hardwood for the floor. However, due to supply chain issues, that kind of flooring just isn't available right now. You have even looked into working with alternative suppliers, but it might be six months or longer before you can get the floor your client wants.

There is a similar kind of hardwood flooring available at a comparable price. It features the same kind of finish and hardness as the originally requested wood. Before you substitute the available flooring for the requested kind, you should protect yourself before making that change.

Notifying your client about a possible substitution in writing may slow down the construction process, but it protects your business from claims.

Unhappy clients could take you to court

You understand that you have no control over what supplies are available and that completing a project on time is often more important than completing it exactly as described. So, if a client requested specific building materials, deviating from those instructions could look like a breach of contract.

Even if the costs are the same or higher to your company to use the different materials, an unhappy client could still take you to court over changes that you made without consulting them first. Providing a client with written notice about the supply issues and your suggested substitution protects you from frivolous claims that you intentionally ignored or failed to follow the customer's instructions.

They can consider the options, ranging from delaying the completion of the project to choosing different materials, and instruct you in writing about what they would prefer. That way, you have proof that you have done your best and have proceeded with the project in accordance with their wishes.

Documentation is crucial in construction defect claims

Clients often make statements that they later pretend they never said or claim they forgot. What you have in writing will serve a crucial role in protecting you from potentially devastating claims made by your client.

The more documentation you have supporting your actions, the less likely it is that your business will suffer from financial losses because of the deviation from the original contract. Understanding how to proactively defend against residential construction defect claims is important for those managing new construction and remodeling project.

About the Author

Karl Silverberg

Karl Silverberg Contact Me: (631) 778-6077 Email me Practice Areas: Construction Law Biography Prior to law school, Mr. Silverberg worked as a professional engineer, and has eight years of experience working as a structural engineer on public sector transportation projects. Mr. Silver...


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