Stay Out of Court

Laura M. Porinchak / February 2016

Jobsite safety was the editorial focus of our January issue, and this month we look at how to keep yourself and your company out of the courtroom. One would assume that a safe job site is a happy job site, but it’s almost inevitable that a dispute or two will arise, especially on big jobs with short schedules. And as backlogs start building, you don’t want to be spending your time in a courtroom.
    
The AWCI member contractors who were interviewed for the article that begins on page 26 say that first and foremost, the best way to stay out of court is to avoid disputes in the first place. But really, how often will that happen? So the next steps to be taken could still keep you out of court, but there are no guarantees. In the end, it’s you versus the general contractor (or owner, other sub, etc.), and you want to pick the road that is right for you, your situation and the future of your company.
    
Also discussed in this article is whether or not it’s a seller’s market. In some areas, it appears that it is, and there are different ways to handle potential problems depending on how much of a legal arsenal you might have in your file cabinet. For example, do you have the proper insurance? Are you bonded? Can your contract help avoid conflict if written properly? These questions and more are asked and answered in the article.

Speaking of AWCI member contractors, our annual list can be found on page 33. Along with contact information for each company you will find their fields of experience. This list is also published on AWCI’s newly revamped website, which you can visit at www.awci.org. (You’ll be hearing more about this in the near future, but we welcome your comments on our new look.)
    
Our final feature article, which begins on page 45, shares the story of how Mercedes-Benz USA became No. 1 in customer satisfaction (according to the J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index survey). Now don’t let the fact that it’s about a car company steer you away from reading it. Many of the things MBUSA did prior to, during and after the sale can be applied to your construction company. It’s all about going that extra mile.

We are already into the second month of 2016, but I like to plan and look ahead. We know it’s going to be a busy year out in the field, and we think 2017 is going to be even busier. In all the hubbub, I don’t want you to forget about us. Does today’s winning bid mean you will be working on your state’s biggest project later this year? Are you trying new techniques or materials, both in the office or on the job site? Do you have a question for “Problem Solved,” or an idea for a story? If you’ve got a great story or a great idea, I want to hear about it—and so do the readers of this magazine! Send me an email when you come up for air (porinchak@awci.org), and we’ll see what happens.