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.
Perhaps worse, the group did not find that construction companies were able to learn from prior disputes how to avoid falling into the same traps. One suggestion was to digitalize their communication methods, as this allows contractors to project outcomes better. Still, human errors persist, especially with particularly complex projects.
One suggestion is to use data collection devices, 3D-modeling and scheduling software to plan and execute their construction projects.
While disputes can still arise, if they wind up in court, the digital tools more accurately reflect the true records that can lead to a courtroom win.
If you anticipate an escalation of a dispute, make sure that you loop in your construction law mediation/arbitration at an early juncture. That can result in a negotiated settlement or dispute mediation that might ultimately keep your case from costly and time-consuming litigation.
Having clear and concise contracts in force between you and the clients is another good way to prevent scope creep from dragging you into murky legal areas. The bottom line is that unless it is stipulated in the contract, it is not required to accommodate your client’s demands.