Three Things That Can Lead To Construction Litigation

Posted on: 8 January 2019

One of the biggest fears people have when doing building work is that they may end up in the middle of construction litigation. Whether you're coming into a situation as the customer or the contractor, this class of business litigation can be tricky. It's driven heavily by the wording of each clause in each contract, and that's why it's a type of work that people regularly turn to a lawyer for help with. These three issues can lead to customers and contractors potentially going to court to resolve their concerns.

Errors and Omissions

Among the most common sources of disputes are errors and omissions in contracts. Simply put, the contract doesn't say what it should or else it doesn't say anything at all. When a problem comes up, there's no value in referring to the contract because there's no usable source material there.

In such situations, the first order of business is establishing what the understanding between the two parties was. It's normal for counsel to collect emails, letters, voice messages and other exchanges that can fill in the gaps of a flawed contract. There is usually some discussion with both parties about what they thought the agreement was. From there, an attempt to resolve the situation is usually made with the support of attorneys for both sides.


This happens when the contract is clear about what needed to be done and it wasn't. Depending upon the terms of the contract, one party may be empowered to seek penalties in order to compel the other to honor the deal. It's common for one side to claim the contract was ambiguous or unclear about the terms, and then counsel has to prove that everything was clearly understood all along. Once that fact has been demonstrated, the contract's terms, including penalties, need to be enforced.

Conversely, a contractor might be able to show that they were put in a bad position. If a material delivery differs dramatically from what was described in the specifications, for example, would it be possible to fulfill the terms? Customers have a duty to enable the success of those they contract with.

Compliance Failures

Assigning responsibility when a regulatory shortcoming, especially one related to safety, is found frequently leads to construction litigation. Contractors might be the cause of compliance issues, but the site owner may have to pay a fine and pursue action within the terms of the deal.

For more information, contact a local firm like Wright, Ponsoldt & Lozeau, Trial Attorneys