I have been beating the drum of the need to have a solid construction contract as the basis for your construction project and contractor/subcontractor/supplier relationships. I have also emphasized that communication early and often is one of the best ways to assure a smooth project. However, the sad truth is that even with the best contract drafted with the assistance of an experienced construction attorney, if the other party to the contract simply decides not to perform, whether that is through unjustified non-payment or simple refusal to complete a scope of work without reason, it will be an expensive proposition to force compliance or be compensated for the monetary damage caused by such actions.
It is this often unmentioned truth relating to any contract, including those that construction professionals in Virginia deal with on a daily basis, that makes having a good knowledge of those with whom you plan to contract is key to a successful (read profitable) construction project. Of course be sure that any contractor or subcontractor you contract with has the basics of propoer insurance, the right experience and of course a contractor’s license with the proper specialty or specialties. These basics will get you most of the way to assuring that those that contract with you at least are responsible in business. Another key component, if you can find this information out, is the financial wherwithall of the other party. For a General Contractor, this means both sides of the equation: Owner and Subcontractors. For a Subcontractor, the key is the Contractor, but any other information you can get on the Owner is helpful (though this can be difficult) particularly in the face of a “pay if paid” clause.