While building projects are often sources of positive anticipation, they also have a tricky tendency to go sideways in any number of ways. This can result in unfortunate frustration and disillusionment, particularly when projected completion dates come and go while construction shows no sign of being finished. Disputes are common in construction; they can have serious effect on the relationships between property owner and contractor, and at times real estate litigation may prove the only way forward.
Disputes arise as a result of many potential issues. Delays in completing contracted construction are a common source of major strain. Also problematic is the occasional failure to administer the contract, or, for that matter, a deficit of understanding concerning the conditions that the contract contains. And occasionally, unsubstantiated claims may arise—whether out of misunderstandings or out of true self-dealing or malice. (Everyone has heard apocryphal stories about property owners trying to get more work than they pay for, and about contractors who take payment on a project and then disappear. However overblown and unlikely they may be, there is a nugget of truth lurking behind them.)
Naturally, a project has the best chance of timely completion when it begins with a realistic timeline based on careful planning using sound methods of budget management. Both parties should do their due diligence to ensure preparation and review of pre-construction work, like estimates and schedules. These schedules need to be realistic and workable, containing contingency plans for disruption and delay. Risks of construction should be identified in advance, and specialists in these risks should be consulted as necessary. Subcontractors should be hired ahead of time for the appropriate stage of construction. And important orders should be made in a timely fashion.
A well-drafted contract is key to all of this. Such a contract should be as clear as possible, codifying the various elements of design, defects, excess cost, and other issues make the expectations clear to all parties. Nonetheless, deviations from contracts do occur which cannot be resolved between the parties themselves. And in that case, litigation may be your only option.
If you find yourself needing a good construction contract, or needing one reviewed—or if you find yourself in a disagreement over some aspect of a construction project anywhere in the state of Arizona—an experienced attorney with strong scruples like the real estate attorneys at Provident Law can be a huge help. Our attorneys represent buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants, lenders, borrowers, trustees, guarantors, shareholders, partners, and others. We structure, negotiate and document a variety of real estate and financing transactions, such as leases, purchase and sale agreements, loans and development agreements for a variety of commercial and residential projects. Contact us for more details.
Christopher J. Charles is the founder and Managing Partner of Provident Law ®. He is a State Bar Certified Real Estate Specialist and a former “Broker Hotline Attorney” for the Arizona Association of REALTORS ® (the “AAR”). Mr. Charles holds the AV ® Preeminent Rating by the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings system which connotes the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. He serves as an Arbitrator and Mediator for the AAR regarding real estate disputes; and he served on the State Bar of Arizona’s Civil Jury Instructions Committee where he helped draft the Agency Instructions and the Residential Landlord/Tenant Eviction Jury Instructions.
Christopher is a licensed Real Estate Instructor and he teaches continuing education classes at the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business. He can be reached at Chris@ProvidentLawyers.com or at 480-388-3343.