Construction contracts can be as dangerous as the work they’re defining

Assuming a momentary lapse in ethics and etiquette, you could presumably march into the kitchen of your favorite restaurant and attempt to whip up your favorite dish. Chances are, by the end of your rather bold endeavor, you’ll have missed far too many critical steps for anyone to accurately identify your creation.

Likewise, anyone can read a contract, and even point out some concerns. But if you don’t know what to look for in a construction contract, chances are, by the end of your rather risky endeavor, you’ll be left with far worse than a hack-job entrée.

Attorneys don’t neglect the prep work

From making sure all parties understand the details of the plans to visiting the job-site, contract attorneys don’t leave anything to chance. Here’s how you can help prepare for signing day.

  • Confirm the bid. All parties need to ensure the bid is accurate. Contractors should confirm the numbers with their foremen and superintendents, and everyone should verify the bid covers the entire scope of the job and expectations.
  • Jobsite visitations. Taking a trip to the future job site can help identify any obstacles that need to be addressed in the contract and/or bid. Key aspects to keep in mind include Parking, staging areas, power, water, soil conditions, neighboring properties, street conditions, and access to the job site.
  • Review all plans and specifications. It’s important to evaluate how all the cogs in the construction machine operate together – not just the ones of direct interest. Any conflicts in functionality should be identified before engaging in a contract.
  • Confirm the scheduling. In addition to making sure everything is ready when needed, it’s important to determine if enough time is given for the unexpected, such as weather delays or material shortages. Property owners and contractors should confirm time goals to eliminate conflicts when it’s time to put ink to paper.

Attorneys know what to look for

Ultimately, a savvy contract lawyer knows where crippling verbiage tends to hide, or which gaps can allow for devastating scenarios. These examples of red-flag departments will give you an inside look at how construction contracts are assessed.

  • Concealed conditions. Sometimes, certain conditions that might make the job more demanding are concealed until after the work begins. All construction contracts should include a provision allowing for modifications of rates, and completion times should such a condition arise.
  • Every contract should clearly define payment schedules, including how payments are determined when they’re due, and any contingency and release requirements.
  • Changes and disputes. If a contract doesn’t include the process and conditions that allow for changes to the job, it’s leaving all parties vulnerable. Construction agreements should clearly illustrate everything required to make a change to the initial construction plan.
  • The scope of the project. Everything involved in achieving the completed project, as planned, needs to be precisely explained in the construction contract. This should be based on the bid, and clearly define any work that’s excluded by the contractor.

The new world of housing

Contracts boil down to expectations. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where disagreements can begin. While this is an intrinsic aspect of signing an agreement, recent housing trends can cause expectations to unwittingly fall out of line.

Everything from zoning laws to the internet of things is changing what we expect when it comes to our homes. For an inside look at the house of tomorrow, explore our blog, Your Future Home? Nothing Like Where You Live Now!”

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