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Heritage Law Group Dec. 20, 2015

In the construction business,Two People Inspecting a Contract you see contracts every day—but are yours truly effective? According to construction law, your contracts should include many details of your work with your client. This can include anything, including:

  • Pre-construction

  • Bid Analysis

  • Coordination of architects

  • Coordination of subcontractors

  • Payment amount and type

  • Project completion schedules, and more

In the event that there is a dispute with your client, you must ask yourself, will my contract keep me safe?

5 Tips to Build Effective Construction Contracts

Following the best practices of construction law, your construction contract should be able to effectively explain and inform all parties of what is expected of them. To make your construction contracts as effective as possible, follow these 5 tips.

1. Seek The Help of a Construction Lawyer

To ensure that you are getting the most effective and informational construction contract, seek the help of a construction or business lawyer. They will have the expertise to draft and create informative contracts that are tailored to your specific needs. They will be able to do this quickly and ensure that no detail is overlooked.

A construction lawyer will be able to help with more than just building effective contracts. They can help with more legal tasks, including:

  • Contract bidding on public projects

  • Insurance, performance bond and surety issues

  • Zoning and land use issues related to project entitlement, site permits, building permits or use permits

  • Mechanic’s liens and payment issues, and more

2. Start Simple

For those that are just starting to write their own construction contracts, it’s important that you start simple. Start with a general, basic outline of what is expected of all parties involved. Keep your language simple, clear, and concise to avoid any confusion. Your contracts are read by a wide variety of individuals—from clients to judges, ensure that your writing can be clearly understood by all.

3. Get Specific

After you have completed your general outline of the project, it’s time to start getting specific. Start including all of the details that you know at the moment. Two of the most important details to note in the contract are start and completion dates and payment amounts.

Although timelines often change in this industry, it is important to have a date that can be agreed upon by all parties from the start. This will hold contractors, suppliers, and other parties involved accountable to deliver their part by a certain date, if all goes as planned.

4. Sign the Construction Contract

After you have your construction contract completed in full and looked over, sign it. Have all parties involved look over the contract and agree upon the fine details before you sign. This process should be completed with a notary or lawyer present to witness the agreement between all parties.

5. Keep Your Contracts Updated

As previously mentioned, in the construction industry, dates, deadlines, and other factors are always changing. It is important that you keep your contract updated with the agreed upon dates, payment amounts, and more. Be aware of the flexibility that you’ll most likely need in order to complete the project in full and note in the contract start and completion dates as well as payment amounts and the time of payments.

File the correct change orders and keep them connected with the original contract so that all parties involved are aware of the changes and fluctuations. By keeping the documents tied together, it will allow an outsider to see the projects in its entirety from start to finish with all details included.