5 tips to help you avoid construction disputes

By Brian PoageJune 08, 2022

A study by Arcadis says the value of construction disputes in North America more than doubled from $18.8 million to $37.9 million from 2019 to 2020

Construction disputes cost time and money - a study by Arcadis says the value of disputes in North America more than doubled from $18.8 million to $37.9 million from 2019 to 2020 - they can even put a contractor out of business.

There are ways to navigate and avoid them, and it all starts with solid documentation to protect your business. Construction tech can help you improve documentation, and avoid rework and disputes.

One common thing most construction disputes involve? A lack of communication. Here is what you can do to improve communication and avoid disputes:

1. Collect timely field data - Field data is crucial from day one, especially if you can’t be on the job site. Your crews are the ones out in the field, so you have to make it easy for them to document their progress. Real-time updates help you track a project closely, spot any potential problems, and adjust to make sure you stay on schedule.

2. Take photos, videos and notes - Visualizing a job site is easier said than done. Photos and videos show the finer details of your progress, surrounding area, or circumstances where words could fall short. During site investigation, photos help your team translate design into physical spaces.

After delivery, you can look back and see a project from start to finish. With time and date stamps from when the photo was taken, you’ll have proof nothing was altered.

3. Automate reporting to reduce errors - Manual entry is inefficient. It can also increase errors in project data. When documentation is your first line of defense against disputes, it’s essential to be as accurate (and up to date) as possible. Invest in tech that automatically transfers files to the office, as soon as

Brian Poage, senior construction support manager, Raken

field crews sign off on them.

4. Store documentation in one place - Most disputes don’t happen in real time. In fact, a lot of them come up months after a project is finished. That’s why proper document storage is key to backing up your work. Cloud storage stores all your project files in one central place; you’ll have an accurate, clean timeline of events to refer to when you need it most.

5. Send progress updates to stakeholders - In construction, many disputes come down to contract language or compliance. That makes it even more important to keep stakeholders informed at every step. Construction apps let you share progress with stakeholders from anywhere.

Thankfully, there is no shortage of construction tech available today to help you avoid disputes through accurate documentation and communication. Do your homework and choose the option that best fits the specific needs of your construction business. 

Brian Poage, senior construction support manager at Raken, has worked in the construction industry for nearly 10 years. He started his career with Turner Construction Company and worked as a field engineer, project engineer and superintendent on projects including the Sempra Energy Headquarters in San Diego and the Wilshire Grand Tower in Los Angeles. After Turner, he transitioned to a project manager role for the developer Holland Partner Group before taking a role as project manager for WeWork, building office space in the Southern California area. It was there he became a customer of Raken and later went to work for the company.

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