Contracts are critical. In the world of trenchless construction, contracts are everywhere, from the projects you perform for your customers to the services and products that you buy from others. Contractor bonds and insurance policies are themselves contracts.
The bad news is that contract disputes on trenchless projects are expensive. The good news is that disputes can be avoided or minimized by taking a proactive approach when preparing or reviewing construction contracts.
Even if there is no room to negotiate, I can help you better manage a project’s risks by spotting any red flags in your contract, so you won’t be blind-sided by its terms if a problem occurs.Schedule a free consultation
Review your contract with a lawyer to avoid being blind-sided
Construction contracts are increasingly complex. They can be lengthy, dense, and full of legalese. Contractors and subcontractors are often under pressure to sign such contracts quickly, without much time for review or room to negotiate. Many contractors enter into agreements without fully understanding them, worried that if they don’t sign, some other contractor surely will.
But working under a contract that you do not fully understand can be as risky as performing underground construction without fully understanding the project’s geotechnical conditions.
I can help you and your company review and understand your contracts and subcontracts, both upstream and downstream. If there is an opportunity to negotiate, I can help you propose terms that fairly apportion the project’s risks or that clarify any confusing or inconsistent contract language.
Even if there is no room to negotiate, I can help manage a project’s risks by spotting any red flags in the contract so you won’t be blind-sided if a problem occurs.
I’ve been reviewing and litigating contract language for many years. I understand which terms can create conflict down the road, especially when those terms are ignored, mismanaged, or misunderstood. I also understand how contracts can increase a contractor’s risk on a project and limit a contractor’s rights and remedies, often without a contractor knowing it.
You can read more about how I review construction contracts here.
When possible, use contracts prepared by your attorney, not the other side’s
Contracts are a tool of your trade just as much as any piece of construction equipment.
A contract’s primary purpose is to advance your business and not, as some lawyers seem to think, win a lawsuit. A good contract will help you solve any problems quickly and inexpensively. An incomplete or poorly drafted contract can not only cause disputes, but increase the time and money needed to resolve them.
Contracts should anticipate and address the issues and problems that you are most likely to encounter during a business relationship. I can draft contracts that will help keep you out of the courtroom and focused on your business.
What’s a well-drafted contract? To begin with, a contract has three main traits. First and foremost, it gets the deal done on terms that fairly allocate the risks between the parties. Second, it anticipates and addresses the problems and issues that the parties will likely encounter as they perform their obligations. Finally, a good contract is clear: a law degree is not required to understand its intended meaning and effect. A good contract can be read and understood by those responsible for carrying out its terms. And because the contract leaves little room for disagreement, no one even thinks they need to call a lawyer.
Project contracts are not the only documents I can help you prepare.
If you are involved with a dispute that you can settle without a lawsuit, I can help you document that agreement so you are protected, even if the other side suddenly changes its mind.