Contractor disputes are unfortunately not uncommon. While there is no clear-cut way to completely avoid a contractor dispute, there are ways to reduce the chance of a contractor dispute occurring. It's important to set expectations up-front, have good communication, and resolve disagreements peacefully and professionally.
Set Up Front Expectations
It's important to be realistic about the score of your project and budget and insist that a formal statement of work be drawn up. This statement should be a written contract between you and the contractor that says exactly what work the contractor will do, when it will be completed, and should include terms of payment and provisions for dispute resolution. No verbal promises should be accepted – a good, professional contractor will always provide a written document. Ensure that your contract contains progress milestones, as well as a starting date.
It's also important to have active and efficient communication with your contractor – keep in mind that both parties need to put the effort in to reach out to one another in order to effectively communicate. Feel free to voice your concerns over issues and ask questions – they should be happy to answer. The project manager should provide you with a daily plan of work to be completed. Don't forget that you have the right to insist certain conditions such as no smoking, no loud music, etc.
Despite everyone's best efforts, it's possible for a disagreement to arise between you and the contractor. In order to resolve these quickly and efficiently, you should bring up any concerns as soon as possible, as waiting might worsen the situation. However, it's also important to be somewhat flexible, as changes in plans are sometimes unavoidable. Approach any disagreement calmly but firmly. Ask for an explanation and reason for any changes and keep an open mind. In the event that a disagreement cannot be resolved, the contract should specify a dispute resolution process, which may include arbitration, which is where your civil litigation lawyer in California might come in.
Catanese & Wells is a top civil litigation lawyer in California. Contact us today with any questions or for more information at 818-707-0407.