Jordan Ramis pc. Attorneys at law

Contractor Beware

The Importance of Documentation

Problem

  • A contractor relied on geotechnical information provided by the owner to prepare its bid for a challenging road construction project.  The project required managing operations on steep terrain with many environmentally sensitive drainage channels. 
  • When the contractor started work, it uncovered soil conditions that were much worse and groundwater levels that were much higher than those shown in the bidding documents.  The site conditions delayed performance into the winter months, which exacerbated the challenges for the contractor. 
  • As a contractor used to performing work on a hand shake, the contractor performed the work that was required with minimal documentation.  The owner’s inspectors welcomed the contractor’s efforts when the work was being performed, but quickly forgot about the extra time and effort required when it came time to pay the contractor for the services provided. 
  • The contractor thought it could negotiate a fair deal with the owner without hiring lawyers, but the newer generation of inspectors and managers working for the owner would not agree to pay the contractor without additional documentation. 
  • After almost a year of fruitless back-and-forth communication, the contractor sought our help.

Solution

  • Jordan Ramis used documentation created for other purposes to help re-create the impacts of the undocumented site conditions on the contractor’s work schedule and costs. 
  • Using the analysis of the documentation, we created a report that included a compelling explanation of the facts, supported with sufficient documentation.

Results

  • The analysis allowed Jordan Ramis to organize a dispute resolution meeting with the owner in which we were able to facilitate a favorable settlement. 
  • In addition to preparing the analysis, Jordan Ramis focused on the common interests between the owner and contractor, and was able to convince the owner that following the direction set by the inspectors and managers would not benefit anyone. 
  • By preparing a quality analysis and shifting the focus to common interests, Jordan Ramis was able to avoid a costly formal dispute process and obtain a favorable result for our client.