Construction is one of the most fundamental industries on the planet. A tried and true barometer of economic vitality and geographic identity. With so many stakeholders, it also is among the most legally complex ventures a business can undertake. From real estate developers and architects to trade unions and subcontractors. Not to mention the inherent risks to workers operating heavy equipment and materials.
To be sure, construction is booming in Texas, but disputes are widespread in such an expensive and competitive field. Disagreements can bog down even the most prudent project once the digging starts and the walls go up. Managing risk and resolving discord is imperative to keep the cash flowing throughout the supply chain and preserve the completion timeline. But what if that foundation starts to crack?
Common construction disputes
In 2017, Dutch design and consulting firm Arcadis studied global construction disputes and reported that U.S. companies had become more sophisticated in intervening early to keep costs down. Still, contract disputes remain the most nagging because they were either poorly drafted, badly negotiated or improperly administered.
Other costly conflicts include:
- Site conditions. Unexpected issues below ground can increase costs, discredit initial bids and force everyone to start over.
- Design flaws. Incomplete plans or workforce requirements can grind work to a halt.
- Claims errors. Unsubstantiated demands can also slow building and tie up project managers.
- Injuries. Jobsite accidents can spawn personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims that risk shutting down construction.
- Craftsmanship. A sensitive topic that can often inflame tensions between parties and lead to slowdowns.
- Defects. Inferior materials, structural errors and building code violations are serious issues that demand tight scrutiny and quick resolution.
Construction is heavily regulated and requires strict compliance with local, state and federal laws. Being proactive is the best way to avoid expensive fines and sanctions, especially during ongoing developments. Finger-pointing over schedule changes and delays are surefire ways to disrupt projects.
Conflicts can be lose-lose
Construction is a big business that can mean big headaches when conflicts arise with the meter running. It can be a lose-lose proposition for everyone involved. Sometimes disputes are inevitable, but they do not have to be debilitating. Tear down the walls that separate you and your business partners.
Early intervention can help resolve issues before they metastasize into major problems.