Common Disputes Over Construction Plans and Designs
Disputes over construction specifications and designs encompass a large part of construction litigation. When it comes to these delicate aspects of a construction project, one must exercise the utmost clarity and diligence. Communication with general contractors and subcontractors must be comprehensible to ensure a seamless and timely process. Even with much diligence and clarity, things can still go wrong.
Miscommunication Over Plans and Specifications
When construction specifications and designs are drawn up, the property owner and general contractor come together to agree on meaning and to ensure that they both share the same vision. However, what happens is that different parties who are part of the construction project can interpret these documents differently. The more parties involved in the process (including subcontractors and architects) the higher the chances for confusion. If plans and designs are vaguely drawn, the margin for error increases. It is the responsibility of the parties involved to create documents with clarity and keep open lines of communication to ensure that discrepancies are quickly resolved. Often the owner will include a clause in the contract, which gives warranty that all plans and specifications are accurate. Breach of this warranty can become grounds for litigation.
An exculpatory clause is a term in the construction contract that absolves the contractor in advance from the responsibility of any damages, disputes or losses occurring as a result of faulty plans or specifications. Some courts wrestle with enforcing these provisions. Even though the parties agreed to it, some court may determine that the clause was unfairly included or overbroad. In the case of construction plans and designs, the contractor and owner can throw a volley of blames in an attempt to have the exculpatory clause work in their favor. Parties should consult with an experienced construction law attorney before signing onto an exculpatory clause.
Scope of Work Disputes
Scope of work disputes is another common type of dispute in the realm of construction law as it relates to planning. A classic scenario arises when a subcontractor is involved in the bidding processing. In this case, a sub bids on a particular portion of the project, but does not have a meeting of the minds with the general contractor about the capability to accomplish that portion of the project. The general contractor may have a different vision for the scope and the sub may have another. This type of dispute can cause work interruptions, which can quickly become costly. And given that so much money and energy is invested into the original plans, subs and general contractors must continue a likely tension-field working relationship. If a claim is filed, the litigation is complex with the court having to discern the mental understanding of each party.
Florida Construction Law Attorney
Disputes during a construction project are unavoidable. If you consult with an attorney to advise you on contractual and other legal issues, the more harmonious the process as you are well prepared for the eventualities. Protect your construction project and your money. Contact Sweeney Law, P.A. today for help.