What can a contractor do about a subcontractor’s poor work?

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2022 | Construction Law |

Construction defects can land a project’s general contractor in legal and financial trouble.

If the defect is serious enough, the contractor may wind up having to foot the bill to pay to fix the construction problem and pay other damages.

General contractors rarely perform faulty work themselves. Most often, general contractors are coordinating different subcontractors on a project. The subcontractors actually purchase the materials and invest in the labor to get the job done.

If a subcontractor does subpar work which causes damage, then it is the subcontractor which should be responsible for that damage.

Unfortunately, especially if the subcontractor is experiencing financial troubles, then the contractor may legally be responsible to pay. These unexpected payments could make a promising project unprofitable and, in a worst-case scenario, seriously hurt the contractor’s business.

Preparation and planning can help prevent problems down the road

According to an article in an online magazine which covers the construction industry, advance communication and planning can help a contractor head off quality-of-work issues.

For example, a contractor should not always take the lowest bid on any portion of their project. An unusually low bid is a possible sign that the subcontractor either does not understand the project or is planning to cut corners to meet their bottom line.

A contractor should plan the project well enough to know what well-done work should cost.

Communication is also key. An open channel of communication between the subcontractor and contractor can prevent not only construction defects but also disputes between the two.

For example, a contractor should, at the outset of the project, make sure that the subcontractor clearly understands the specifics of the project.

There are important legal steps a general contractor should also take

Despite everyone’s best efforts, sometimes issues will arise with respect to a subcontractor’s work. For such cases, by being proactive, a general contractor can protect their financial and legal interests.

The contractor’s subcontract agreement should spell out that the subcontractor is responsible for the quality of their share of the work, including any construction defects.

To make sure a subcontractor meets this obligation, the agreement may also require the subcontractor to carry different types of insurance or other security.

For example, the contractor may want the subcontractor to obtain bonds guaranteeing that the subcontractor will perform their portion of the project as agreed.