Owning a construction firm can prove very profitable, but it also leaves you at a near-permanent threat of legal action. There is so much that can go wrong in construction, much of it outside your control. What’s more, some people are very bad at communicating their wishes clearly so you can do everything you believe you were meant to do and still find the client is unhappy.
Here are some ways to minimize the risk that you face in a construction defect claim:
1. Learn to say no
Sometimes the best answer to a client request is no. It’s up to you to tell them if something can’t be done, or can only be done at a greater cost, with different materials or with special machinery of expertise that you don’t have. Do not try to make things work just to keep their business as that could cost you far more in the end.
2. Give people accountability
Every little thing needs to be someone’s specific responsibility. You cannot afford to be in a situation where nobody did it because everybody thought someone else would do it.
It doesn’t stop once you assign responsibility, either. You then need to check that people are actually doing what they are meant to do – once again, you’ll need to give someone the responsibility for checking this.
3. Put everything in writing
Documenting everything can prove crucial if a dispute does make it to court. It can also reduce the chance things go that far as showing you have the evidence to defeat a claim may persuade the other side to back down.
Make sure you have a good filing system and comply with state and federal requirements concerning how long you need to keep documents as some building defects might not surface for years to come.
Despite taking precautionary measures, issues could still occur which put you in a difficult position. Getting legal guidance to examine your options and obligations is wise.