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Being Specific Doesn't Hurt And Avoids Dispute Later On

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Old 02-17-2010, 04:21 AM   #1
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Being Specific Doesn't Hurt And Avoids Dispute Later On

I think not assuming the understanding of common knowledge is important when you're dealing with subs, employees, clients to avoid subsequent disputes.

Many of you don't work with seven figure jobs, but there's something to be learned from such jobs.

From this one seven figure project. In the bid invitation was among some thousands of pages of specifications, 20 pages or so dedicated to acronyms and definitions.

Even buyers with a lot of experience don't assume something many people assume to be common knowledge even as such. Albeit there are many things in there that are locale specific, there are plenty of things I think contractors should know.

NEC - National Electric Code
ISO - International Standards Organization

Materials "any natural or manmade substance specified for use in the construction of the Project or for incorporation into the work"

Contractor "Any person who has entered intoa contract with the owner for the work"

Final payment "The last progress payment to the contractor + withheld retainage - deductions permitted by the contract" I figure this is there, because someone will probably cry or have cried in the past how it's not fair...

All that spoon feeding made sense to me after this one idiot showed up five minute late into bid announcement that lasted like 15 minutes. He learned his company was already announced and that they didn't win after paperwork was passed out at the end.

Dude, you drove a few hours only to show up five minutes late just to learn you lost a seven figure contract

When there are GCs out there who don't get the idea of being on time, it doesn't seem far fetched to put attendance and tardy policies into workers' contract and lecture 'em about it...
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:30 PM   #2
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Re: Being Specific Doesn't Hurt And Avoids Dispute Later On

One of the items we have done is a task list for the sub when we ask for a bid and give out a Work Order.

The sub understands they are to go through the check list and check off items in our job notebook as they are accomplished. It is incumbent upon me to write a good set of specs and tasks but, it has helped my management and expectations immensely.

Some Subs objected at first but, our check lists helped them do their jobs. Even have had them ask for copies so they can use it with their staff on other jobs.



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Old 02-18-2010, 04:41 AM   #3
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Re: Being Specific Doesn't Hurt And Avoids Dispute Later On

I like this one I found in the contract terms expected for painting:

"upon completion of painting, the contractor shall remove surplus materials, protective coverings and accumulated rubish and thoroughly clean surfaces and and repair over spray or other painting related damages"

In terms of absoluteness, it appears it is in the order of :
"Shall", "must" then "should" being a distant third.

It seems like a few words here and there is a matter of semantics and perhaps some will say its for "managers" and "grammar nazis", but it means win vs lose in court or you might avoid that damn place in the first place if its written properly in the first place.

It is pretty clear that "should" is different from "must", although "shall" appears to be equivalent to "must" depending on who you ask.

Shall > must

Shall = must

Well what difference does this crap make in real life?
It shouldn't unless one or more parties perceive something to be a problem.

A good painter would do what was written above without being told, but it does give the owner the edge to encourage the bad kids to clean with a disincentive.

Then, it gives the owner the power over horrible painter to deduct payment for the cost to have their mess cleaned up with much lower probability of losing a claim or having a claim filed for non-payment.

Sad world, but without it, there are those who will say "we're painters, not janitors", "that's a paint damage, but you only said we're only responsible for overspray" and other Bull
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:35 PM   #4
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Re: Being Specific Doesn't Hurt And Avoids Dispute Later On

Nice post, I generally agree with your point and a detailed contract is as important for a 5-figure job as it is for a 7-figure job. Spelling everything out is to the benefit of sides of the contract.

As to the "shall" vs. "may" part of your post, either is appropriate. I think the author of the article at specs and codes is really trying hard to make an issue where none exists. If you walk into court over material term that was not performed, it doesn't matter if it's preceded by "shall," or "must" you're going to get the same result - breach. He twists the problem a bit with his fan example. If the term ISN'T material to the contract, then it doesn't matter whether you put shall or must anyway.

The court will decide what's material and what's not, the only way you're going to trip yourself up is if you're ambiguous on things that are required vs. things that are optional. In my view, there are few things where "may" is applicable. If it's optional, leave it out.
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