Friday, January 7, 2011

Top 10 New Year’s Legal Resolutions for Everyone in Construction

Once again, I present my Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for everyone in the construction industry.

10. Take time to laugh a little.

9. Be consistent in your contract drafting to avoid fighting the same battles in litigation AND in arbitration.

8. Promptly report all potential losses and claims to your insurance company and specifically request defense and indemnity for you and any employee named in the claim or lawsuit. And document your reporting!

7. Beware of lien waivers!

6. Safety first on the job site. It avoids litigation, keeps OSHA away, maintains employee morale, and most importantly–it’s the right thing to do.

5. Know who you’re contracting with and make sure they are financially viable (or have a bonding or insurance company that is). This is so important I repeated it from last year’s list and moved it up.

4. Sometimes, the best decisions you make are the decisions to turn down business. A marginal, slow, or non-paying customer that brings headaches is sometimes worse than no customer at all.

3. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. In other words, don’t rely solely on one large project, as problems with that project (including nonpayments) will put you at the upstream party’s mercy and drastically hurt your business.

2. Properly document your change orders and don’t just rely on unsigned letters or emails.

And once again, the #1 New Year’s legal resolution for 2011 for everyone in construction:

1. Read your contracts! Understand your contracts! Enforce your contracts!!!