As in any industry, communication is the foundation of success within construction. Unlike traditional office settings however, where employees have been groomed and prepared to successfully communicate, many construction workers and subcontractors must learn this skill on the job. Despite what many people say in an interview, few of us are great communicators. Great communication is one of the ways that construction disputes can be prevented.
Tips for avoiding a construction dispute
Communication in all areas of the work is critical to the success of the project, and can prevent time-consuming and costly disputes.
- Loose contracts: When two parties agree to work together, it is highly advisable create a legally binding contract. Without this, it’s one person’s word against another.
- Unrealistic time constraints: In a proper contract, parties will outline their schedules thoroughly. It is critical that all parties agree to realistic expectations for the tasks at hand.
- Working outside of the scope: It’s natural for the scope of the work to increase as the project progresses. A contractor or subcontractors job is first and foremost, providing a safe product, and second, ensuring great client relationships to secure future work. Agreeing to take on more work may initially satisfy the client, but if it leads to delays, that may backfire.
If a dispute comes up, it is critically important that everyone keep a cool head. Communication, good or bad, is likely make or break this dispute early on. As a business person, you will need to decide what you are comfortable giving up and what you need to walk away with.