This past week, I spent some time meeting with clients and generally discussing the day to day operations of construction companies. One common theme of these discussions (and of this construction blog) was the need to deal with problems at a job site early. I have often discussed the contract side of catching things early, and firmly believe that this is the first step to a successful construction project. This post is about the equally important “operational” side of this advice.
What do I mean by “operational?” Essentially, while the contract negotiation and drafting tries to anticipate problems that might occur, the operational side deals with problems on a job site as they occur. In short, moving from what might occur (something I as a construction lawyer think about all the time), to what is actually occurring when putting that contract to work. Whether you are a general contractor, owner, subcontractor, or supplier to a construction project, you are likely well aware of the fact that Murphy was an optimist and something will go wrong. How you deal with this fact can be the difference between a successful, profitable project, and one that ends up in litigation (read: not as profitable). However, in order to deal with a problem properly, you need to know about the problem before it explodes. Without this knowledge, a problem could fester and lead to non-payment, subcontractor mechanic’s liens, and other headaches that don’t need to be further mentioned here.