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When contractors and clients don't envision the same results

Clients often look for low bids when hiring a contractor. If one bids $100,000 and the other bids $75,000, they'll go with the contractor who costs $25,000 less.

This makes sense, of course, but it can lead to some problems, especially when clients and contractors aren't envisioning the same results, the same level of quality, and the same finished product. The client thinks that the quality is exactly the same with both bids, and he or she is happy to save money. The contractor thinks that the client isn't really "saving" money at all. He or she is just paying less for a lower-quality job.

Communication can help prevent construction disputes

One of the best ways to avoid a construction dispute -- whether it's a contract dispute, a dispute over the quality of the finished product or something else entirely -- is to make sure that there is open communication on both sides. Contractors and homeowners must focus on communication from the beginning to the end of the job.

First of all, it's important to note that communication should be continuous. Don't just talk at the beginning and then check back in at the end. That often leads to disputes if there was any miscommunication at the beginning. Instead, check in at least once per week to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Examples of high-cost construction defects

High-cost construction defects can often lead to lawsuits after renovation projects or new buildings. With a lot of money on the line, it's important for those on both sides to know where they stand and what legal options they have. This starts with an understanding of common high-cost defects, which could include:

-- Issues with structural integrity. These issues could come from masonry or carpentry work. At their worst, they could render a structure entirely unsafe and mean that extensive modifications are needed. An unstable foundation that is discovered only after a home is built on top of it is extremely problematic.

General construction phases that require an inspection

To make sure that building codes are being followed, inspections have to take place during the project. These can happen at various times, and codes and regulations do vary. However, there are a few main phases that generally trigger an inspection before moving on to the next phase. These are as follows:

-- After the foundation has been poured

Be wary of bid rigging, even when it's done accidentally

You work in construction, so you know that bidding on jobs is just how the industry works much of the time. You also know that bid rigging -- the act of colluding with others who are technically competitors -- is illegal. You would never do it intentionally.

However, it's important to understand just how serious this is. Even if it's done unintentionally, you could still violate the Sherman Act, which was set up in 1890 to prevent this type of collusion.

Avoiding and reacting to construction disputes

Your overall goal is to avoid construction disputes, and there are many steps you can take to minimize the risk. One of the most important things to do, for example, is to be very careful with the drafting of contracts, both to ensure that they adhere to the local laws and to make sure that both sides are really happy with the terms.

You don't want to rush these things, which can lead to mistakes or oversights. These, in turn, can lead to disputes that cost time and money, all which bogging down the project.

Do you need a permit for a mooring device?

You know that you need building permits for homes and other such structures in Fort Lauderdale, but what about something simple like a mooring device for your boat? Do you still have to get a permit, or can you just have it constructed without one?

You do need a permit. This is covered in Artcile IV of the Code of Ordinances, in Sec. 8-91. - Mooring structures.

Disputes can be especially complicated for subcontractors

Construction disputes are often complicated for both sides as they consider factors like the expected quality of work, the exact wording of the contract, and the local laws, codes and statutes that come into play. Homeowners and contractors can go back and forth over what rights and obligations each side has and how the job must be done.

However, this can be especially complicated for subcontractors, like plumbers and electricians. If the homeowner has a problem with the work, he or she may talk to the head contractor or general contractor. That person will then approach the subcontractor and messages get passed back and forth with this buffer layer in the middle -- potentially distorting the message or leading to communication errors that make an already tough situation even harder.

Failing to meet expectations can lead to construction disputes

For many people, the dream is to buy a home that is a new build. They want a home built exactly to their specs, on the lot of their choice. They want to know that it's not going to have any issues -- like roof leaks or worn out wiring -- because everything is brand new and up to code. The first time walking through this house is supposed to be a great experience, the culmination of months of planning and building, as all of these dreams are realized.

So what happens when it's not up to their expectations? A client who is let down by the house may start a dispute, saying he or she isn't paying for the house since it's not satisfactory.

Why a construction project isn't done on time

One of the biggest reasons for a construction lawsuit is simply when the project lags behind schedule and doesn't get done on time. This doesn't just mean it runs over by a day or two, but it could be weeks or months behind schedule.

To those funding the project, this can be incredibly detrimental, perhaps costing them a lot of money. For instance, if the project is an electronics store, the owner may want to have it done far enough before Christmas to get things set up and have it open for the biggest shopping season of the year.

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