Construction claims are so prevalent and diverse that preparation for the inevitable should be a part of each contractor's normal business routine. Though the source and nature of each claim is not known, contractors do know when the performance of their work is impacted or when events, circumstances, or situations arise that are outside the realm of the contractual provisions contemplated by the parties. In these instances, the contractor should collect any pertinent information and documentation that would support its actions or assist in the defense of any potential claims.
- Is the construction schedule on which the work was commenced the same as the schedule on which the contractor submitted his bid for the work?
- Are there differing or unexpected site conditions?
- Are there adverse weather conditions that are abnormal for the locale or time of year?
- How is the work being coordinated among the subcontractors? Is the construction manager or general contractor properly integrating the work of the various trades to continue moving forward in the construction process without delay?
- Are there errors or inconsistencies in the plans or specifications in relation to the work that is required to be performed?
- How many change orders have been received? Is this an unusually high number given the nature of the work to be performed or with respect to the contractor's trade?
- Who is in charge of supplying the materials for the work? Have there been any delays in the receipt of the necessary materials?
- Have there been labor strikes or other union activity on the job site?
- Has the method of construction been changed?
- What is the relationship among the personnel at the job site? Have there been disputes or disagreements among such personnel that have affected the progress of construction by, for example, interjecting ambiguity into the construction process, delaying a response to inquiries for clarification, etc.
This is but a sampling of the countless inquires that can be made in order to help a contractor discern potential problems and the claims that may flow therefrom. Each project is different; thus, the prudent contractor will make systematic efforts to be vigilant in examining the process and progress of the construction and, from such examination, prepare for claims that it may encounter.