Can I draft my own construction contracts?

The success of construction projects depends on having good contracts. A solid construction contract serves as a roadmap for the construction project. It includes essential information, such as the project’s scope and timeline, the responsibilities of each party, the budget and the procedure for resolving disputes.

As you start planning your construction project, you might be tempted to draft your own contracts, believing this will save you time and money. While this may seem possible, there are many reasons you should not draft your own construction contracts.

First, it is important to understand the importance of a construction contract. It protects the interests of all parties involved, including the contractor and client and reduces the risk of future disputes and potential legal proceedings.

Legal compliance

Next, all construction projects must adhere to various legal requirements, regulations and building codes. There are laws and rules at the federal, state and local levels that must be followed.

These laws and regulations should be thoroughly researched, understood and analyzed before drafting your contracts. Drafting your own contracts using a template or “do-it-yourself” form might not ensure compliance with all legal requirements.

Even non-compliance with a minor building code could cause the construction project to be shut down or subject you to legal culpability. At best, you will likely lose time and money as you attempt to resolve the dispute.

Additionally, a good construction contract protects the interests of all parties by addressing all potential scenarios. The contract language must be clear and detailed.

Interpretation problems

Drafting your own contracts or using a generic form could result in vague or ambiguous language that cannot be legally enforced. If you and the other parties cannot agree on how the language should be interpreted, you might end up in court and the court can strike the language altogether.

Additionally, unclear contract language is typically interpreted against the person who drafted it. If you drafted the contract language, there is a good chance a court would interpret it against you.

This can even result in a scenario where you are forced to take on legal responsibility or obligation that you did not intend to.

Finally, although you may initially believe that drafting your own contracts will save you time, you could end up spending more time than you thought. Drafting a complete contract without the proper legal knowledge can cause you to feel overwhelmed. It can take longer to complete and leave you with unsatisfactory results.

Protecting your business interests

Perhaps you worry that leaving the contract drafting up to someone else will leave you having little to no control over the contents or the process.

However, a professional can provide you with personalized advice based on your specific construction project. They can also help negotiate favorable terms that protect your interests.

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