5 Ways to Protect Yourself When Taking Over Someone Else's Project -
"Many of the risks center around one thing: fixing the previous contractor's mistakes."
Why this is important: Stepping into an existing project is a challenge. Experts suggest snapping photographs and ensuring clarity on payments before getting work started. This is great advice, since taking over a project can become a litigation disaster waiting to happen if the new contractor does not protect itself. Documenting the status of work in progress before the new contractor begins its own work is very important for many reasons beyond those cited in this article. First, the new contractor needs to understand the exact scope of work it is being asked to complete, to include what the original contractor was paid to do, what the new contractor will be paid to complete, what the timeline is, any changes to original plans and specifications from what the original contractor followed, and any problems with materials procurement or suitability. These understandings must be memorialized in writing to prevent misunderstandings. Photographing, videotaping and/or using drones to document the condition of all physical aspects of the project can prevent conflicts between the new contractor and the owner or party hiring the new contractor about what work remained to be completed and which contractor did what work. Second, the new contractor needs to document all construction materials on site and available for its crews to use, and identify whether additional materials would be needed to complete the job. Sometimes, the original contractor who purchased the materials may take leftover materials with him when he leaves the site. This can lead to disputes between the original and new contractor if the new contractor planned to or is using the on-site materials. If there are disputes with material suppliers, the new contractor needs to document the condition and use of materials on site when it arrives to avoid being held liable for damage or non-payment of materials it did not purchase or procure. Third, the new contractor needs to know whether tools and equipment on site belong to and will be removed by the original contractor, or whether they can be used to complete the project. If tools and equipment must be purchased or rented, it can impact the time and cost to complete the project. These are just some of the reasons for a new contractor to document the project status when taking over.
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