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Doing your due diligence

For many contractors, the most satisfying aspect of a construction project is completing it. But when is it actually done? Too often, contractors and laborers find themselves returning to a worksite well after they had thought the job was finished.

Of course, this can affect your wallet. If you spend more time on a project than you'd anticipated, you (and not the client) will typically bear the costs. As a recent article in Construction Dive notes, it is important for contractors and related parties to establish an end game from the very outset.

When is a contract completed?

"The most effective tool a contractor can utilize in the closeout process presents itself at the beginning of the job," the article notes. Namely, it is "a full review of the contract documents." Simply put, if you don't know what's in the contract, you don't know what your obligations are. Likewise, by agreeing to terms without reviewing and amending them, you lose your right to assert what is and isn't fair.

Contract disputes cost contractors in Florida millions of dollars each year. While some matters are inevitable, others could easily be avoided. Disagreements tend to cluster around a few key issues, including:

  • Change orders
  • Lien waivers for future payment
  • Unfinished work by additional contractors
  • Unfiled payment affidavits
  • Punch list discrepancies

If these provisions aren't hammered out early, litigation is more likely to ensue. 

Protect yourself when you are still able

It is not groundbreaking news, but advice that must be continually repeated: a project's end goes smoothly only if the contract is understood and followed from the very start.

"You can have the best contract in the world. It means nothing if you don't administrate it," the Construction Dive article notes. The game cannot be won unless the rules are followed, and the rules can't be followed unless you know them in the first place.

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