One of the worst surprises that can happen to any construction project is the looming threat of a lawsuit. America is a nation where litigation is commonplace, and no aspect of private life or business is safe from it. Visitors can sue homeowners for being bitten by dogs, car manufacturers can be sued for lying about fuel emissions efficiency, and business owners in the construction sector can be sued for any number of reasons.
Here are three of the most common, and what you can do to avoid them.
By far, one of the most common lawsuits that construction firms face often comes not from angry clients, but employees who have been seriously injured, sometimes permanently. Legally speaking, it is the responsibility of a business owner to maintain a safe environment for workers. If a worker gets injured “on the clock,” and there is proof that that worker wasn’t involved in horseplay, or fooling around, then the onus falls on the business owner to make things right.
Of course, you can easily avoid this by not cutting corners. Always ensure proper safety regulations, make sure your workers have access to proper safety equipment and are observing protocol. When equipment is faulty, especially dangerously so, don’t try to save money by keeping it in circulation. If you think safe, you’ll avoid accidents that you may be responsible for.
This should be a big surprise, and to many, the prospect of litigation is justified. No one enters into a business partnership, especially a construction venture, with the hopes of a poor job that is unlikely to stand the test of time. People pay money and expect to get quality results. When investors feel that a project is not meeting up to the level of quality that had been promised, litigation often follows.
One of the best ways to avoid this type of litigation is to be cautious and realistic. Always tackle projects to meet the minimum levels of quality expected to pass safety inspections, for example. When you make promises about the level of the quality you can deliver, don’t make grandiose claims that aren’t realistic with the bid you’ve entered. Promise only what you can deliver and ensure your employees are committed to the same level of quality you are.
Another area where a construction business may find itself facing litigation is through failure to complete a project by the agreed-upon timeframe. If you promise a project will be done in one year, and somehow it takes eight, don’t be surprised if the investors of the project decide to go to court.
The best way to avoid this issue is to plan generously and plan for the unexpected. Don’t create a tight schedule for yourself where if one thing goes wrong, delays set in. Build delays into your timeline; allow for emergencies and contingencies, so that when delays arrive, you’re prepared to mitigate them. Ensure that your workers are fulfilling their commitments, and working when they’re supposed to be, by using things like a time card app to make certain that everyone is working when they’re supposed to be, where they’re supposed to be.