Disputes cost construction companies around the country tens of millions of dollars each year, and many of them are avoidable. According to the market research firm HKA, construction companies around the world that became embroiled in disputes and lawsuits lost more than $48 billion dollars in 2020 alone. Construction is an industry with high costs and slim margins, so Pennsylvania contractors may want to avoid costly litigation that could drag on for months or even years.
Expectations and communication
Most construction disputes are caused by miscommunication and misunderstandings. Clients can usually picture how their projects will look once construction work has been completed, but these expectations are not always rooted in reality. Construction companies sometimes make things worse by producing overly impressive renderings of completed projects.
These problems can sometimes be avoided when contractors and their clients communicate openly throughout the construction process to identify and address misunderstandings. It can also help to make sure that the construction contracts that they sign do not contain vague language that could be misinterpreted.
When plans change
Construction projects can evolve over time, which can lead to disputes and construction lawsuits when contractors and their clients are not on the same page. Moving a door or adding a window may seem like minor revisions to a client, but making these changes can be time-consuming and expensive.
Good communication is the key to preventing these disputes. When clients request changes, contractors should let them know about all of the work that will be required to make them. They should also clear up any confusion about how much making the changes will cost and how long it will take to complete the extra work.
Contractors and their clients often see each other as adversaries rather than allies, which can increase the likelihood of construction disputes. When the parties involved in construction projects work together to overcome setbacks and deal with adversity, they develop empathy and build relationships. For this to happen, contractors and their clients should have realistic expectations, communicate openly and understand that just about all projects run into problems sooner or later.