When you are a construction contractor, you often rely on others to help you complete your projects. You work closely with subcontractors, trusting them to complete their work on time, in a quality manner, so you can move forward finishing a remodeling project or building a condo high-rise.
Yet at times, you may face trouble with subcontractors. They may not show up or delay their work for weeks. Or you discover they completed substandard work that now must be redone. What are you going to do then?
You don’t want to have to settle every construction dispute you’ll face in court. Finding other ways to settle your disputes often will save you time and money, a big benefit when you want your business to succeed. Here are some tips for contractors to resolve construction disputes out of court:
1. Work directly with the other party involved
You need to have a solid relationship with your subcontractors so you can negotiate with them when something goes wrong. You need to be able to approach them and find a way to get your construction dispute resolved as quickly as possible. That’s more likely when you can work through the problem one-on-one.
2. Check your contract
You need to know what your contract with your subcontractor includes. Have you already agreed to a dispute resolution method? What is it? Does your contract stipulate under what circumstances you can void the contract? Having a strongly written contract can help you know your next steps to resolve your construction dispute.
3. Seek mediation
With mediation, you and your subcontractor will work through your dispute with the help of a mediator. This is a private process and involves you negotiating with your subcontractor on how to resolve your dispute. With mediation, you both get a say on how to move forward.
4. Explore arbitration options
Historically, contractors have used arbitration to resolve construction disputes. With arbitration, an independent arbitrator hears evidence you and your attorney present about the dispute. Your subcontractor and their attorney will have the same opportunity to present their side of the matter. Then an arbitrator rules on how to resolve the dispute.
5. Keep your business strong
By working through your construction disputes out of court, you can help your company’s bottom line. Facing litigation can quickly eat up profits from a large project and delay the project’s completion even further – both problems you want to avoid as much as possible.