Property owners invest considerable resources in remodeling and construction projects. Therefore, financial damages can be substantial when things go wrong with a job. Denying final payment to a contractor might not solve the problem if the contractor retaliates with a mechanic's lien. People in Missouri confronted by shoddy work, defective materials, contractor disputes and abandoned work sites have a variety of options for filing complaints and seeking a resolution.
The complex nature of many construction disputes in Missouri means that many issues can be costly to resolve and stretch out over a long period of time. Indeed, the average construction dispute across the country can take around 14 months to reach a resolution. Two of the most common issues raised in legal battles over construction projects are errors and omissions and unsubstantiated claims, and building information modeling can play a role in helping to resolve some of these issues.
A Missouri builder could be liable for various types of construction defects. For example, a company may be held responsible for an issue with the design of a home, how it was put together or for lack of oversight while construction occurred. Liability issues can also ensue if there are problems with the home's electrical system, doors or windows.
A construction dispute can cost both a contractor and a client time and money. Contractors may also worry that handling a dispute improperly could result in a strained relationship with the client. To reduce the odds of a dispute occurring, it is important to make the contract between the parties as clear as possible. Furthermore, the contractor should create daily reports that address any challenges that were faced in finishing a project on time.
After the City of Cape Girardeau, Missouri filed a lawsuit against a Poplar Bluff contractor, the contractor has filed a motion requesting that the court compels the city to go to arbitration and to dismiss the lawsuit. The contractor also filed a countersuit for up to $1.5 million if the case continues in court.
When a problem emerges during or after a construction project in Missouri, the owner, contractor and architect often point fingers at each other when liability needs to be determined. Architects include language in their contracts meant to protect them from liability in the event of construction problems. However, courts tend to scrutinize these terms, and they do not necessarily let architects avoid responsibility.
A big redevelopment project at the Aspen Club was meant to service tourists in Colorado, but financial trouble has prompted multiple contractors and the lender to foreclose on the property. FirstBank, which lent the club's owner $45 million, filed the first foreclosure action at the Pitkin County Treasurer's Office. According to the lender, the property owner owes $30 million. The general contractor, PCL Construction Services Inc., took similar action soon thereafter in Pitkin County District Court. The company activated its mechanic's lien on the property with the hope of recouping $19 million.
Contracts developed by the American Institute of Architects often serves as a foundation for agreements between parties on a construction project in Missouri. Every 10 years, the organization revises documents, and it has added language to documents A101, B101 and A201 that is raising new questions and concerns.
Builders in Colorado may have been in a celebratory mood on June 5 when the state's Supreme Court ruled on a landmark construction defect dispute. The case involved how the declarations for projects can be changed, and the justices ruled by a 5-2 majority that a homeowners association was wrong to file a lawsuit before first obtaining the builder's consent to change a binding arbitration provision.
If a bill that passed the Colorado House on April 24 also passes the Senate, homeowners associations will be required to let condominium owners decide whether they want to be involved in class action lawsuits. The condo market has slowed in the last few years partly because of lawsuits filed by homeowners associations. Builders claimed that it had become too easy to file frivolous lawsuits.