In a work atmosphere, most people strive to be professional and do their part of the work without getting too involved with their co-workers. However, heated arguments do happen. They can involve co-workers, clients, and managers on any level. Prevention is best done through detailed contracts and getting advice from specialized building dispute lawyers. What to do when the conflict does happen?
What can be a building dispute?
The construction industry has a reputation for many disputes that happen. The party that sues is mostly the client. Overall the most common causes of building disputes are:
- Building contract errors
- Dispute over delays
- Negligence in planning stages (by engineers and architects)
- Failure in the construction phase
- Disputes over contractor payments
- Disagreement over the poor quality of materials
Apart from these, there is always a possibility for a conflict over personal matters, poor management, and other issues in communication and guidance on construction sites.
In a case of conflict, don’t ignore it
A trusting relationship is most important to develop during the planning phase. Honesty is the best policy to reach a mutual understanding and the solution that is the best option for each party included.
Maintain the connection with regular communication. During the planning stage, include communication points – schedule meetings, e-mail, and phone calls. These actions will raise the trust levels from the start and make it easier to maintain good communication during the project. The project team must maintain the connection between client and contractor and keep everyone notified.
If the conflict does happen, there are still ways to avoid going to court and adding more bills to an already costly contract. Treat each party openly, fairly, and equally. Organize an immediate meeting to reach a deal while the project is salvageable.
During the meeting, make a list of possible solutions. If the client is the damaged party and wishes to sign a contract with another company, look through the possibilities of repairing the damage before agreeing to look for a new contractor. For each solution for the construction site, be certain to provide clear timelines and explanations of the reparation process.
As many administrations are included in every construction project, maintain an easily understandable wherever it is possible. With each fact known and understood, each stakeholder will be more open. Thus stakeholders will be secure to ask for and receive the best recommendation, advice, and guidance. Expectations should be clearly stated and defined on each working day. Generally, you should always have a viable business plan to make sure everything works as scheduled.
In the misfortunate situation of conflict, one side must maintain the mediating role. The conflict doesn’t always result in a win-win situation for each party involved, which is why keeping everything clear and on record is of the highest importance.
Seek advice from experienced building dispute lawyers
Legal advice is always a way to go if a conflict arises during business hours. You can never be certain what is the extent of the damage and what are possible repercussions, especially if you are not the contractor but the client.
Experienced building dispute lawyers can provide guidance for every legal aspect of a construction project; if there is no way of solving the conflict through a meeting or additional annexes to the original contract. The claims, disputes, arbitration, and litigation will be your possible solutions. Every dispute is different, so make sure to choose your legal representatives wisely.
Before resolving the conflict, it is important to know what has really happened. Maintain documentation properly, and keep everything recorded. If the client is the damaged party, be certain to present them with each paper, bill, and other evidence they might ask from you.
Be certain to avoid speaking about the dispute in any other way than official – via e-mail. Avoid social media, as well as phone calls as any is not official communication and not a smart business move in the case the conflict reaches the court.
Every piece of evidence should be put in order of relevance or chronologically. These will also help to uncover the reason for conflict and ease the solution. In any part of the conflict, do have in mind that you can go to the lawyer and ask for legal advice on the matter.
Do not put the blame on just anyone
Communication matters even more once the conflict has happened. As there is most often no more trust, especially if the damaged person is the client, open communication is not enough. The person who has suffered the damage will most likely look for the person guilty of the mistake. This search will definitely result in additional issues that will quickly go outside of the construction site and become a costly and time-consuming issue. Here the reputation of one or more businesses is in question, so any case must not be taken lightly.
Always check with whom you’re working with
The best way to avoid any misfortunate situations is to know who are you working with from the beginning. Look for the credentials and the portfolios with the previous experience, maybe make a few calls if you are the client, and most definitely check at least a few companies before signing. When you reach a contract, have a lawyer that will check it and explain to you what are the possible weaknesses that the document holds. Lastly, maintain open conversation and respect deadlines that were put in the contract.