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Commentary: 2013 Resolutions for Construction Executives

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Careful construction industry people (and others) may want to make the following New Year's resolutions for 2013 (perhaps to help avoid attorneys’ fees):

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• Resolve to make all reasonable efforts to settle disputes directly with the other party—and leave your attorney out of it;

• Resolve to carefully document every event that might give rise to a claim or dispute through letters, archived e-mails, meeting notes and communications, dated photographs and, if applicable, videos, Tweets and other social media.

• Resolve to watch out for deadlines such as completion dates, times for asserting mechanic’s liens or verified claims or statutes of limitations, among others;

• Resolve to read every contract document carefully, to question vague, misleading or unfavorable provisions before signing and until you understand and are satisfied with every term and provision (or have no other choice);

• Resolve to “put it in writing,” using standard and familiar contract forms, purchase orders, authorizations-for-extras and other documents designed to make everyone’s responsibilities and positions clear and avoid hassles later on;

• Resolve, if required by your contract, to give timely notice of claims for additional compensation or time;

• Resolve to alert office personnel about what to do with legal papers and other documents handed to them by inspectors, auditors, sheriffs or other mysterious people;

• Resolve to alert your people well ahead of time about what to do if newspaper, magazine, radio or television reporters start asking questions or poking around, especially in case of a jobsite accident or major problem;

• Resolve to communicate thoughtfully, as if everything could (and might) become evidence in a dispute: letters, archived e-mails, memos, virtual models and so on;

• Resolve to read the dispute provisions of your contracts and know what to do if and when a dispute arises that cannot be settled amicably;

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