Contractors and other construction professionals can face serious consequences in the event that a construction defect or other issue is claimed at a particular project.
In an effort to try to save time and/or money, a contractor or sub-contractor may attempt to resolve such an issue on their own or through informal discussions with a homeowner or developer. However, taking this route could spell disaster for a few reasons.
If you're not successful yourself, you make it inherently more difficult for your attorney when he steps in
Most contractors believe the homeowner or developer will act reasonably when discussing a solution to a possible construction issue. In many cases, however, even if the owner or developer wants to act reasonably, their perception of reasonable may differ significantly from yours, whether based on their lack of experience or emotional investment in their concerns. Either way, the more you say, generally, the more that can be used against you later. Moreover, your offer to resolve the issue, if not accepted, may form the starting point of a later negotiation rather than a compromised middle-point.
You could pay for someone ELD's error
Construction defects can be incredibly complicated to examine, and it is not always clear who is responsible for a defect. Maybe it appears to be your work, but maybe the problem is the result of another sub's defective work or a defective supply you used. Before you eagerly act to resolve an issue, there are legal resources and processes in place for properly investigating construction defects and assigning liability. If you circumvent these channels, then you could wind up being accused of mistakes for which you are not liable and shouldering the cost to remedy them.
You could cause more problems
Trying to work out a resolution to any construction matter informally could work in some cases, but in others, it sparks lengthy, heated disputes in court instead. Rather than risk the latter, it would be wise to refer to any contracts you have in place for guidance on liability, dispute resolution, and notifications.
If you attempt to work things out with another party alone, you could end up making things worse or more contentious. We have found that the sooner you engage your attorney to assist you in issues of potential liability, insurance, bond issues or generally how to address a construction defect, the quicker and ultimately less expensive you can resolve the matter. In addition to giving you instant credibility and leverage in potential disputes, getting your experienced construction attorney involved takes the burden off you and lets you focus on your work.