What's going on with the Akron Amazon Distribution Center?
Recent construction industry news has dug up an unfortunate, but interesting lawsuit revolving around the construction of an Amazon Distribution center in Akron, Ohio. Intelligrated Systems (Honeywell) filed against their subcontractor, Hy-Tek Material Handling Installation Services. The suit started in December of last year, and was last updated mid-February. While errors and miscommunications happen on any job, filing in court usually means there was an ugly breakdown in communication somewhere.
And the problem? Supposedly Hy-tek failed to install a conveyor belt.
What started as one potential error has already snowballed into several months of litigation, and will cost both companies extra money they weren’t counting on spending. In the meantime, their client Amazon is probably not thrilled their warehouse wasn’t built to their specifications.
So why do construction disputes happen?
Lawsuits are common in the construction industry, especially when it comes to a breach of contract. Disputes occur in up to 30% of all construction projects, an unfortunate statistic that speaks to larger issues. So what are some of the problems?
Unapproved Change Orders
It shouldn’t happen, but it does. Sometimes construction teams will circumnavigate the chain of command and have someone sign off on a change order who shouldn’t… or begin work before the order is approved.
Yet another avoidable issue, many construction businesses are still stuck with outdated methods of organizing their documents. Because of this, important papers may be misfiled or lost in emails.
Unclear (or Unread) Contracts
Setting up a contract and reviewing carefully seems like an integral step to avoiding a lawsuit. But sometimes clauses in the contract are missed, or the language is unclear. Sometimes there may even be contradictions in the document.
What can you do about construction lawsuits?
Flashtract can’t read your contracts for you, but it can help you cut down on communication errors between project owners, and contractors. Cloud storage with all you documents in one place means no more pay apps, lien waivers, or change orders lost in your inbox. Talk to us, and learn more about how we can help.
What can you do to avoid a lawsuit like Hy-tek vs Honeywell?
There are a number of ways you can cut down on potential conflicts with your clients. Of course, we can’t guarantee this advice will avoid all construction lawsuits (nobody can guarantee that!). But there are a number of best practices to help cut down on unnecessary misunderstandings or communication errors.
Maintain Good Relations with your Subcontractors
Have you ever inspected a worksite, and seen some really shoddy work? It’s unfortunate, but it happens. And it’s problems like these you can’t afford. Be sure that you are using known and trusted subcontractors when you need to outsource work. Good subcontractors mean good quality work, and a better reputation for your business.
Keep errors at a minimum with Flashtract
Lost pay apps, incorrectly calculated lien waivers, and unnapproved change orders shouldn’t be happening in your business. But outdated methods of managing projects through excel and via email result in all of the above problems. Modern software like Flashtract has built-in calculators, and controls for everything from subcontractor compliance to ensuring change orders are approved by the right people.
Have a legal professional look over your contracts.
Contract disputes are common and frequently lengthy to settle. Before you sign or approve a commercial contract, go over it with a trusted lawyer. This way there aren’t any surprises, and if you need to make changes, someone is present to help draft the requests with you.
Communicate clearly & transparently with your clients & workers.
Almost all of the construction lawsuits that frequently arise happen when communication falls through. It’s always best that all parties involved with a construction project have a clear understanding of what’s going on. Otherwise, there may be misunderstandings or friction that simply doesn’t need to be there. Using tools like Flashtract to communicate about the billing process, and Procore to manage the project can help keep everyone on the same page as the project evolves.
Minimize your risk and improve communication
How the conflict at Ohio’s Akron Amazon Fulfillment Center will play out remains to be seen. But you can learn from the mistakes of others. Rather than allow parts of your larger projects to slip through the cracks, you can take control of your projects with Flashtract. Flashtract helps make your processes more efficient, easier to use, and accurate. Are you ready to see how we can help?
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.
You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking legal or other professional advice. The contents of this site contain general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. We disclaim all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content on this site.