Thoughts on construction law from Christopher G. Hill, Virginia construction lawyer, LEED AP, mediator, and member of the Virginia Legal Elite in Construction Law

A Construction Stitch in Time

Originally posted 2015-10-27 11:22:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Smyrna stitch
Smyrna stitch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a cliche for a reason that “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine.” Why? Because it is almost always cheaper and more efficient in the long run to get something right the first time than to fix it later. This old adage is true in life, and particularly true in the world of construction.

Whether it’s measuring twice before making your bid, checking with your subcontractors and suppliers to be sure they haven’t missed anything when giving you a price, or yes (and you knew this was coming), being sure that your contracts are written as they should be and cover the bases. To use another construction related analogy, these types of basic practices create a great foundation for your construction project(s) that will (hopefully) see you through to a successful and profitable construction project.

Aside from the last of my examples, how can adding a knowledgeable construction attorney help with laying this foundation? We construction lawyers spend our days either dealing with problems that have occurred (not ideal), anticipating risks that could occur (better, though can lead to a relatively cynical world view), and advising clients before the fact of the potential risks and how to best avoid them (best). Speaking from experience, I would much rather spend my time keeping my construction clients making money and avoiding the pitfalls of the “Murphy’s Law” governed world of construction than spend time with them in court.

While I, as an attorney, can make more money in a shorter period of time when my clients are in court or arbitration, I feel I serve my clients better by keeping them out of court. Litigation is not a money making strategy. In fact, regardless of attorney fees provisions and other ways to soften the blow of a hole in the income stream and the expense of litigation or arbitration, you will almost always end up worse off financially if you end up in court. Couple that with the stress and lost time from family and other activities and I would much rather spend my time keeping clients happy and profitable.

To bring this full circle, while spending money on an attorney may not be high on your list of fun things to do, adding a construction attorney to your “team” can add value and add that “stitch in time” that can save you much more headaches and expenses later.

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One Response to A Construction Stitch in Time

  1. […] Now, on to 2016. In 2016, subcontractors and suppliers will be dealing with a new landscape where they cannot waive their mechanic’s lien rights by contract prior to performing work. What the courts will do with the language of the new statute has yet to be determined (for instance, what does “impair” a right to payment mean?), but this is a step toward a more level playing field. Hopefully the economic growth that we’re all hearing about will extend to the construction industry here in Virginia and help to ease some of the financial pressures of the past several years. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind my clients and friends to get their contracts in proper order and to prepare ahead of time to avoid problems in the future. […]

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