Construction Litigation: When is it time for the owner to plan on it?

by Fred Abramson on March 10, 2010 · 0 comments

An Iron Worker close to Baytown, Texas prepare...

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The constuction industry is subject to more than its fair share of litigation. This not because the people who you work with are bad people (even though there a few bad apples). It is because industry itself if very complex.

There are many factors of what makes a project sucessful.  A successful project may not have anything to do with the parties involved. This includes anything from material shortages to the weather.

The people and companies involved in any given construction project are independent and often have competing business interests. The owner, contractor and architect are often at odds.

The time for an owner to begin thinking about construction litigation, which includes its avoidance, alternatives and costs is at the very beginning of the construction project. Obviously, the most important goal is to limit the possibility of a lawsuit as the most basic goal.

Unforutantely, due to the unpredicable nature of construction projects and the number of people involved in any given project there are likely to be disputes.

The time to consider litigation occurs before the point of confrontation. As an owner you should try to avoid it as much as possible by being aware of its possibility. You can do this by being careful about the people who you hire, and to define the legal rights and obligations of everyone involved in the project.

As an owner, the ability to  avoid a construction lawsuit is made likelier by the following:

  • A comprehensive background check of all the participants
  • A strong set of contracts that is uniquely drafted to suit your needs. This means you should avoid using the same agreement for each project and should be aware of independent contractors.
  • Setting out before the project each parties administrative duties and obligations. 

You should be aware that even a contract that is drafted with every considering in mind will not inherently protect you from a lawsuit.  However, with careful planning, the likelihood of your company being involved in a costly lawsuit diminished greatly.

The Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson represents both owners and contractors in drafting contracts and construction litigation. If you have any questions, call at 212-233-0666

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