Whether you are renovating a rental property or redoing your kitchen, it is not uncommon for construction projects to run into some snags. Issues like permits, inclement weather, and availability of materials can all slow a project’s progress, but when an unreasonable delay causes hardship, you may need to take legal action. Real estate lawyers can help you understand your rights, represent your interests, and help you find ways to settle a construction delay dispute.
Have a Lawyer Review Your Construction Contract
Before you sign any contract and work begins, it is vital to understand your rights and the rights of the contractor. Having a construction contract lawyer review the document before signing can help you save a lot of headaches in the long run. It is also important to find out what permits you will need and whether the contractor will take care of obtaining them and iron out any land use and zoning issues that could arise. An experienced real estate attorney can ensure that all of these matters are addressed before work begins.
If you have a project that has stalled, before taking any action, it is essential to understand which party is responsible for the delay, the types of damages the other party has incurred, and what rights each party has according to the contract. A Pennsylvania real estate lawyer can evaluate your circumstances, review the contract, and advise you of your options.
Types of Delays That Cause Conflict
In construction contract disputes, there are two basic types of delays: excusable and inexcusable. An excusable delay is usually due to unforeseen events, such as the weather making it impossible for a contractor to work and get a project completed on time. An inexcusable delay might be something like failing to appropriately plan and schedule all aspects of the project. Regardless of the type of delay, a lawyer may be able to help you come to a reasonable resolution without filing a lawsuit.
Ways to Resolve Construction Delay Disputes
Negotiation – The first step to take when trying to resolve a dispute is to meet and discuss the issue. Direct negotiations are much less costly than litigation, and even if you do not come to an agreement, all parties will know where they stand. Regardless of whether you are the property owner or contractor, it is always a good idea to have an attorney as your advocate during these kinds of negotiations.
Mediation – Working out a disagreement through mediation can also help resolve delay issues in an efficient, cost-effective manner. In mediation, a neutral third party assists the parties in conflict with negotiating their differences. The mediator does not render a decision, but can facilitate civil discussion and provide ideas for solving problems.
Arbitration – The alternative dispute resolution method is more formal than mediation. Each party can present evidence and arguments. Once the arbiter has seen and heard all evidence and arguments, they render a decision. Arbitration can be binding or non-binding, and your real estate attorney can represent you in an arbitration hearing.
Litigation – If alternative dispute resolution is unsuccessful, you may have to file a lawsuit to recover damages for any losses you suffered due to construction delays.
Construction delay disputes can be frustrating, but you do not have to go it alone. Our West Chester real estate attorneys can evaluate your case and provide practical advice on how to move forward.