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Contracts / Project Delivery Methods

Contracts and project delivery methods are intertwined

Practical and Efficient Transactions Counsel

Contracts and project delivery methods are intertwined – but their relationship is often misunderstood. Thoughtful selection of the best delivery method for the project should come BEFORE contract negotiations. Each project structure has its pros and cons. Only AFTER the ideal delivery method is chosen should contract preparations begin.

Often developers and owners pick their project team, and leap right to the selection of contract forms. They default into one of several possible project delivery methods. This is a missed opportunity. We can help you consider the best delivery method for your projects, and then negotiate a suite of interrelated contracts to help implement the delivery method you choose.

Project Delivery Methods

There are many ways to structure a construction project. There is no “best” project delivery method, no “one-size-fits-all” option for all projects. The best delivery method depends on the kind of project and the goals of the project participants.

Sometimes, speed of project completion is key. Other times sticking to a strict budget is most important. Sometimes the quality of the finished building predominates over concerns for both cost and speed. In other cases, project owners are most concerned with single-point responsibility, and hire one party to both design and build the project.  

Owners and developers pick the project delivery method. Factors they should consider include the project participants, their strengths, relationships and experience working together, the tightness of the budget, the kind of project, whether it must be complete by a date certain, and the risk each party is prepared to assume.  

Contract Negotiations

Good contracts are essential. They promote dispute avoidance and met expectations. They are a roadmap for project success. As the project ‘desk reference’ they should be consulted often. Project participants can avoid headaches by understanding their contracts. 

This is often misunderstood. Contracts are not an annoyance or a necessary evil. While it is true that people with bad contracts tend to ‘lose’ in disputes, they are not something just ‘for the lawyers’ or to be ‘shoved in a drawer’ until a dispute arises.

The act of negotiating contracts is itself useful. It can get people on the same page. Early attention to issues like scope and fee, the roles and risks of project participants, and any foreseeable complications, can help avoid later disputes.  

Thoughtful contract negotiations – guided by experienced counsel, who pose the right questions at the right time – can help to align the parties’ expectations. This is where true design and construction counsel can backstop your usual attorneys, who likely bring important but different skill sets.

To learn more about contracts and project delivery methods, contact Baker Law today.