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What are the most common construction disputes?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2020 | business litigation

Most construction contractors are very with client disputes. With so many people involved in every project, some contractors may feel like every job comes with legal disputes. What are the most common causes of disputes?


Among construction projects, contractors run into these disputes either during or after the job:

  1. Contract misunderstanding: Though both parties agree to contracts beforehand, the context of some clauses may not appear relevant until typically the customer decides they do not like something or misunderstands the construction process. It is critical to have the most complete contract possible to avoid misunderstanding and to minimize the possibility of mischaracterization.
  2. Quality of construction: Construction is a human business and sometimes errors occur. When discovered, customers have a certain amount of time to file suit. California law allows contractors a Right to Cure, which mandates that clients allow contractors to fix errors or defects before pursuing litigation.
  3. Payment disputes: Some clients may refuse payment upon completion of a project, requiring contractors to file suit. Clients may argue they are withholding payment due to dissatisfaction with another element of the project, so these cases often spill over into other suits.
  4. Delays: Construction projects are notorious for their delays. Between unpredictable weather, availability of supplies and acts of God, many outside influences can delay project timelines. In most cases, the contractor has no choice but to delay the work due to unsafe or unworkable conditions. Without a comprehensively worded contract, some clients may capitalize on these delays.
  5. Materials used: Sometimes, a client may claim a contractor used improper materials or materials not detailed in the contract. Contractors can avoid these suits by providing exhaustive lists of all the materials required for the project. However, if the materials prove faulty, these lawsuits may end up involving suppliers and parts manufacturers.


Contractors can avoid these common disputes with detailed contracts that account for unforeseen circumstances. Many contractors find success working with a local attorney familiar with business law and contract disputes.