If you have made any extensive change to your business or home or if you have invested in construction works on a property you are making a large financial commitment, then you may need legal advice. Usually, people need help from a building firm or professional to carry out work like wiring, plumbing planning and other skills. Paying for construction services constitutes a contract which stands even if you have no formal written contract, but unfortunately, these projects do not always go according to plan and sometimes a dispute arises.
Disputes may arise due to a range of circumstances. In some cases the work may be poor quality, whereas in others the work carried out may have taken too long to complete. In either case, the first action taken to resolve a disagreement should be an effort to discuss the problem rationally in order to reach an amicable resolution with the firm or individual in question. In many cases, the result is a solution which is agreeable to both parties.
Escalating The Dispute
In some cases, no satisfactory conclusion can be reached and in these circumstances, seeking professional help is the best solution as a solicitor can guide you through appropriate resolution techniques like mediation, negotiation or making a claim in respect of breach of contract.
While amicable relations is always the best course of action when it comes to construction and property disputes, in some cases litigation is the best course of action, although seeking specialist advice from a property dispute legal professional is essential at an early stage since any dispute over a construction contract may escalate rapidly, causing delays to your building project and resulting in mounting costs.
When Might It Be Essential To Take Legal Advice Regarding A Construction Dispute?
There are numerous cases in which legal advice is the best course of action when it comes to building disputes. These include:
- Incidences of engineering or planning negligence
- Errors made when drawing up building contracts
- Contractors carrying out negligent work
- Disputes regarding payments owed to or from building contractors
- Substandard or poor quality materials or work
- Work which was carried out that was not specified in the contract
Seeking Legal Help
Building and construction disputes constitute a particular litigation specialism, and whether your dispute is a commercial project or a residential one, solicitors who are specialists in this field can offer advice for both commercial property developers and homeowners alike. As property experts, construction dispute solicitors can help to determine where negligence may have occurred on your building project and can also instruct other experts like architects and surveyors to construct a convincing case.
How To Prepare For Construction Dispute Litigation
If you find that there is no alternative to litigation regarding your construction dispute, there are some practical steps which you should keep in mind to be as prepared as possible.
- Even if you have exchanged no written correspondence to date with your builder to date, you should always put any grievance in writing and then give them the opportunity to make a response. This will help to prove that you took reasonable actions should the matter go to court.
- Keep notes – if you believe your builder has behaved unreasonably or that any aspect of their work is dissatisfactory, you should always record the details while you remember them clearly.
- Keep all invoices and receipts. You will need accurate amounts if you are disputing costs and if you need any further remedial work you will require an estimate that is fully itemised for the work.
- Take photographs of any defective work or of the work to date as this will show how far the work has gone if alternation or subsequent work is likely to be required. If a dispute goes to court there will be a requirement for expert evidence and in such a case, photographs could be extremely helpful.
- Stay calm as this will help to reduce the stress of the situation and help to avoid the working relationship between both parties breaking down completely.
The Benefits Of Alternative Dispute Resolutions
Opting for an alternative dispute resolution is often a more efficient and cost-effective way to resolve a construction dispute without having to launch court proceedings. To do this, a solicitor can help to facilitate communication between the two parties as early as possible by arranging meetings, mediation, adjudication preparation, arbitration and expert report exchanges.