As I sit down to write my annual list of resolutions for contractors, I am amazed at how much things changed in 2020. Construction was going well and then, in March 2020, COVID-19 hit. At first, we thought it was going to be a disaster for the construction industry. States, cities and towns shut down projects and many applied for PPP loans. Then, something amazing happened. Construction was considered an essential service and everyone was back to work.  That said, the work world changed: companies were donating their PPE to frontline workers, COVID-19 protocols had to be followed and paperwork had to be filed. Everyone was scrambling to figure out how to comply and keep their businesses going. So, you may or may not ask, what was I, as a construction lawyer doing? I spent March and April thinking about the new risks contractors/construction companies were facing and developing contract clauses to protect the industry. I wrote a number of blog posts with clauses to add to your contra

The Importance of a Good Beginning and End to a Construction Project

“Light At The End Of The Tunnel” by Sura Nualpradid from freedigitalphotos.net
“Light At The End Of The Tunnel” by Sura Nualpradid from freedigitalphotos.net

My husband, who is a very smart guy, made a very wise observation last week. He said, "It seems to me that most of the problems with construction projects occur when a job is first starting, or at the end."

I thought about it and realized that he is absolutely right. A project can go along smoothly, but then problems occur at the end that leave everyone with a negative impression of the experience.

I think about my most recent client, who spent over one million dollars renovating his house. He and the contractor are in a dispute about the last $6000.00. I have not made a mistake with the zeros.
So, for contractors and construction companies, I offer the following advice:

1. Tell your clients at the beginning if you are finishing up another job. Let them know that you will be starting at a slower pace in order to do justice to the previous project. Promise them that you will afford them the same courtesy.

2. Reduce anxiety by letting your clients know how often you will be on site. If it's two days per week, show up two days/week.

3. At the end of a job, tell the owner that you will be tapering off in order to start the next job, but that you will complete the punch list by a certain date. Again reduce anxiety by committing to a certain amount of time on site and following through on that commitment. In addition, if the completion date needs to be extended, fess up and admit it rather than cutting corners and rushing through the finishing touches.

4. Make the client happy! It totally amazes me how short-sighted some builders can be. Your clients are your best source of referrals. You want them to be thrilled with the work you've done. Buy them a bottle of champagne when the project is finished. That's the last thing they will remember about you, and it will more than pay for itself in new work.

Popular posts from this blog

Who Can File a Mechanic's Lien in Massachusetts?

EPA Starts Assessing Fines for RRP Violations

When You Shouldn’t Mediate Your Construction Dispute