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How should I handle disputes with subcontractors?

On Behalf of | Jul 17, 2020 | Construction Litigation |

Subcontractors are often a necessary component of a job. You need experts in different fields to handle various details of your project, and hiring someone full-time may not make sense. In this case, a subcontractor can work for you as needed. 

As you know, though, working with anyone opens the door to disputes, and subcontractor disputes are a common issue you will have to deal with. Knowing how to properly manage issues when they come up can save you a lot of time, money and hassle. 

Changes in work orders 

Construction is not the type of business where you have a plan from start to finish without ever deviating from that plan. Change happens sometimes, so if find yourself fighting with a subcontractor over changes to the schedule, workload or other details of the job, EC&M suggests you carefully go over the details of the change and your contract with the subcontractor. You may need to renegotiate the contract, so be open to that. 


Defects in the work a subcontractor does is a serious issue. You need to make sure your contract lays out in detail your expectations and what will happen with subpar or defective work. You cannot afford for subcontractors to cut corners or make mistakes because it reflects on your company. This is a very common area for disputes, so you should take time to make sure your contracts are clear on the matter of defects. 

Pay issues 

Not getting paid for work you have completed is the worst possible scenario. If a client does not pay you, though, it does not forgive your responsibility to pay your contractors. You very well could end up in litigation over payment. It can help to make sure your contract has stipulations for what happens if you do not receive payment and how that may affect your subcontractor’s payment.