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Construction dispute? Call us today to resolve

Construction disputes can be quite costly to resolve. Your time, money and resources all can diminish while you try to hash out a workable solution to appease a disgruntled client.

Meanwhile, your reputation as a solid business owner and contractor can take a big hit if the unhappy client takes to social media to air their grievances. Incalculable damage can be incurred once your good name gets dragged through the mud.

Understand the impact of social media on your company

Whether you use social media platforms to promote your contracting business or not, you need to be aware of the many different ways that these sites can affect your business. For good or for ill, social media is a powerful force to manage.

In the aftermath of a construction debacle like the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans or the pedestrian bridge at Florida International University, images captured in the moment of or seconds after the disaster can flood the internet and go viral.

Could you face any of these construction lawsuits?

Florida contractors can wind up embroiled in all sorts of lawsuits that can be deleterious to their companies and their reputation in the industry. Ideally, you want to proactively protect yourself from these vulnerabilities, but some may be inevitable.

Here's what you should know about limiting your liability to litigation and how to protect yourself when you're being sued.

Changing project scope leads to disputes

Perhaps to few contractors' surprise, a recent study revealed that the primary reason for most construction disputes was the changing scope of the project. We have dealt with the problem of scope creep before in our posts. It's easy to see why this foments so many issues between clients and contractors.

An international consult group determined that across the industry, when changes are made to the scope of a project, it became the most frequent source of disagreements.

Keep hiring practices above board to avoid trouble

As a South Florida contractor, you undoubtedly run into your share of undocumented immigrants looking for work. You may have even hired some to flesh out a skeleton crew during busy times.

But you should be aware that hiring undocumented workers could open you up to legal problems. While it's true that the focus of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents is primarily the arrest, detention and deportation of the undocumented workers, the companies and individuals that hire them could also face negative scrutiny.

Be aware of construction defects

As a contractor, your business thrives because your work is free from errors. Costly construction defects are anathema to reputable contractors whose reputation rides on their finished work.

What kinds of deficiencies can occur to mar your company's good name? It can be anything at any stage of the build or renovation. Was the design poorly planned or executed? Or maybe a lack of supervision caused the construction to be shoddy. The foreman may have too quickly done the final inspection, missing glaring errors that were immediately apparent to the homeowner.

Legally protect your reputation from damage

Disgruntled clients come with the territory for contractors. While the majority of your clients will be well-satisfied with your building efforts, a small subset of your customers may seem to never be satisfied with the quality of your work.

Clients can have legitimate complaints that need to be addressed promptly. Often, all that needs to be done is quite minor, e.g., re-planing a door that sticks or patching a roof leak. Certainly, it is far better to spend an extra hour or three getting it right than triggering the client's ire and fomenting ill will.

That kink in your money line can cost you

Very few companies or individuals are able to donate their services gratis. Most general contractors (GC) and subcontractors need to show up on the clock and await payment. But a problem arises when there is too much delay between work performed and payment rendered.

According to research, annually, both GCs and subs lose around $64 billion when payments are not timely rendered. Statistics indicate that it is especially difficult for subs who are material- and labor-intensive when the lag between labor and payment averaged 51 days. Over 60% of subs declined bids on projects when it was iffy when the GC or property owner would pay for the labor costs.

Should you seek legal advice for your business?

As a contractor, do you ever feel as if you are wearing too many hats? You may want to remain fully involved in all aspects of your thriving business, but are you doing yourself a disservice with this approach?

There is nothing wrong with being a hands-on business owner. But micromanaging your employees and involving yourself in matters that are clearly out of your wheelhouse can sometimes backfire spectacularly.

Workers' claims could embroil you in lawsuits

Contractors who are also business owners frequently find themselves wearing many different hats. They must be ready to go out into the field and inspect the project underway, but they must also be able to play the role of administrator of their contracting businesses. When a disgruntled client complains about a problem, they have to also be able to quickly and civilly respond to the situation.

Playing all of those roles can become wearisome, but it's all in a day's work for those in the contracting business.

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