Five defenses to breach of construction contract

Contracts make the construction industry go around. Without them, projects would be mired in disagreements that would be nearly impossible to resolve, and the industry would likely collapse on itself.

Yet, even with the use of contracts severe disagreements can arise. If the terms of an agreement that you’ve relied upon have been breached, then you might want to take legal action to recover compensation for your damages or acquire a court order forcing the other party to live up to its terms of the bargain.

But what about if you’re accused of breaching a construction contract? What can you do to defend yourself? We hope this post will give you a few ideas so that you know how to protect yourself from an outcome that could leave you financially devastated.

Your options for defending against breach of contract allegations

The nature of the construction industry leaves you susceptible to legal action. You may find yourself being accused of failing to abide by building specifications, using improper or substandard building materials, building a structure with defects, unnecessarily delaying the project, or unjustifiably increasing the cost of the project.

In these instances, you need to know how to defend yourself. Fortunately, there are arguments that you may be able to make in your case. Here are some defense options that may be available to you:

  • Acts of God: Unexpected delays and costs may be attributable to some factor outside of your control. Floods, storms, fires, and supply chain disruptions attributable to natural disasters may give you a defense. However, in order to succeed here, you’ll probably have to demonstrate that the issue that led to the delay or increased costs was unforeseeable and truly outside of your control.
  • Duress: In some instances, a party to a construction contract improperly uses the legal process to coerce you into doing something that wasn’t a part of the original agreement. Then when you refuse to abide by new contractual terms, the other side files a lawsuit accusing you of breach. Here, you’ll just need to show that the other side was acting wrongfully and in a coercive fashion.
  • Frustration of purpose: Circumstances can change after the signing of an initial contract, which may render it impossible for you to comply with the terms of an agreement. For example, if you were to complete work in a shopping center that later burned down, then you’ll be incapable of fulfilling the contract.
  • Substantial completion: If you almost completed the job fully and the other side to the agreement still has full enjoyment of the property, then you may be able to successfully defend yourself against breach of contract. Of course, a lot is going to hinge on the amount of work that was completed as well as whether any financial losses were suffered by the other side.
  • Mistakes: Sometimes disagreements over contract compliance stem from mutual mistake or a unilateral mistake that one side made and failed to bring to the attention of the other party. Here, you may be able to show that you shouldn’t be held liable for breach because the breach was unintentional or because you would not have been in breach if the other side had informed you of the mistake that led to your breach of the contract’s terms.

Protect your interests in your contract dispute

There’s a lot of money on the line when you’re accused of breaching a construction contract. You don’t want to be forced to pay what you shouldn’t owe, which is why you need a strong legal strategy when you address these matters.

If you’d like a helping hand in doing that, then you might want to discuss the facts of your case with an attorney who has proven themselves valuable in these sorts of cases.


FindLaw Network
FindLaw Network