A lot of the problems I see with specialist contractors is where they have a difference of opinion with the main contractor as to what was agreed in their construction contracts. This would happen a lot less if specialist contractors took three simple steps when approaching projects.
Step 1: Make sure you get construction contracts in writing
Use oral contracts at your peril. The Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act might have made construction contracts legally binding whether they are oral or written, but misunderstandings are much more likely to happen where the contract is not documented properly. What is more, if a dispute does arise, it can be very difficult to prove what was agreed orally and, in some cases, can even throw the whole existence of a contract into doubt.
Step 2: Get contract terms checked before you sign
Before you sign up to any subcontractor agreements, get an expert in construction dispute avoidance to look over the terms and conditions so they can advise you on any particular areas of risk. Even if you still decide to go ahead with specific contract terms you will be fully aware of the risks involved and how to mitigate them. Alternatively, you might want to challenge and negotiate certain terms before signing up to the contract.
Step 3: Ensure your staff are trained in minimising risk
Rather than sending every contract to a dispute avoidance specialist, you could consider getting some of your own members of staff trained up to identify and evaluate risks. Courses such as our Commercial Awareness Course are designed to help directors, commercial managers, quantity surveyors and project managers do just that. It helps them develop a clearer understanding of the obligations their company is being committed to. They will also get a better appreciation of which terms they can negotiate to reduce project risk.
Do you need further advice on subcontractor agreements?
If you need further advice on a construction contract you are worried about, feel free to contact our team of construction dispute avoidance experts on 0116 3676123 so they can advise you on which contract terms and conditions will put you at risk.