Samuel Okoronkwo

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Contractual Clarity: Your Foremost Defence

The 2019 Global Construction Dispute Report by Arcadis brings to light the foremost cause of legal disputes in this sector: a lack of comprehension regarding contractual duties. For owners of construction businesses, this revelation is not merely a warning but a guide to sidestepping legal entanglements and securing project triumph.


Prior to committing to any contract, comprehending the scope of work is essential. This involves not only recognising the tasks to be undertaken but also discerning if they are within your realm of expertise. Should a project diverge from your area of proficiency, it presents a juncture for cautious expansion or a prudent decision to decline. When expansion is a viable option, enlisting seasoned professionals in unfamiliar fields can considerably reduce risks.


A robust contract in construction functions as a blueprint for the successful realisation of a project. It ought to encompass:

Scope of Work: Define explicitly the tasks to be accomplished, ensuring a mutual understanding among all parties.

Timelines and Schedules: Detail the project’s duration, including critical milestones and deadlines.

Roles and Responsibilities: Clarify the duties and expectations of each stakeholder.

Terms and Conditions: Establish the legal framework governing the agreement.

Technical Specifications and Standards: Ensure all work adheres to requisite quality and compliance norms.

Financial Details: Outline fees, chargeable costs, and the schedule for payments.

Provisions for Contingencies: Address potential delays or contract breaches, providing clear solutions.

Consideration of escalation clauses is advisable for projects extending beyond a year to account for increases in material and labour costs.


Enlisting a specialist construction barrister is a strategic imperative, especially for large-scale projects. These barristers offer a wealth of expertise, shaped by extensive experience in the construction sector. Their involvement is comprehensive, spanning from planning and drafting contracts to execution and, if necessary, contract termination. Their proactive stance aims to avert disputes, a critical approach in an industry where the repercussions of litigation can be severe.


Before signing any contract, a thorough examination is indispensable. This extends beyond understanding the written terms to grasp the associated risks and implications. Even the best-planned projects can encounter unexpected challenges. A contract that is well-understood and meticulously crafted offers the framework needed to navigate these challenges effectively.


In the construction industry, a contract is more than a mere document; it is the cornerstone on which successful projects are constructed. Grasping and managing contractual obligations is integral not just to legal adherence but to the success and sustainability of your business. For owners of construction businesses, this understanding forms the foundation not only for individual projects but also for the long-term viability of their enterprises. In this context, the role of a specialist construction barrister is invaluable. They are not merely legal advisors but strategic partners, instrumental in your journey towards successful and dispute-free project execution.


Remember, if you are faced with a construction dispute, Mercantile Barristers will be happy to assist. Do use the enquiry form below to contact us to discuss your matter further.

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