Attributes of a Good Construction Contract

By Richard Paciaroni, K&L Gates, Pittsburgh

In April, I participated as a panelist for a program titled Failure is an Option, which addressed best practices for developing a construction project.  Being the only lawyer on the panel among seasoned construction professionals, I was prepared to tackle the topic from a lawyer’s perspective.  I was told to expect the following questions: 1) Is there such a thing as a “good” construction contract?; 2) Can a “good” contract increase the likelihood of success?; and 3) What are the attributes of a “good” construction contract?

After nearly 30 years of handling construction claims and disputes, I felt that I was qualified to address these points.  Specifically, my answers to the first two questions were “yes.”  A good analogy that I can offer is that a “good” construction contract is like a well-constructed ship—it will get you safely through rough water.  Conversely, a “bad” construction contract is analogous to a poorly constructed ship—in rough water, it is likely to capsize, resulting in disaster.

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This article was originally published in the Summer, 2013 edition of The Voice—The Official Magazine of the Construction Users Roundtable.

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