This is the first in a series of Holloway Consulting posts on various measures our construction subcontractor or trade contractor clients have employed during the construction and job closeout phases to help ensure successful projects and minimize financial risk. Part I of this series identified bid and pre-construction phase risks.


Maintaining Jobsite and Disputes Files

As owners, designers and contractors become more sophisticated, construction projects tend to become more burdened with paper. Should a claim situation arise, much of the “paper mountain” may have to be analyzed later in order to make a preliminary or due diligence type of assessment of the terms of potential financial settlement or the likelihood of prevailing in a formal dispute.

In Holloway Consulting’s experience, the time and cost of such assessments can be reduced, as can risks, if the construction subcontractor maintains a projects disputes file. If a disputes file is maintained as if it were a simplified version of the formal project file structure, it should allow a decision to be made quickly regarding whether or not a claim can or should be pursued or defended, at a fraction of the cost otherwise.

Project Correspondence

Correspondence that could have bearing on an issue in dispute should be copied to the disputes file. Correspondence fixing key project events, such as notices to proceed, strikes, release of retention, approval of major submittals, etc. should also be included here.

Correspondence files, both incoming and outgoing, should have a correspondence log, which should contain the letter number, date written and subject. In this manner, previous correspondence to be referenced can easily be identified; at a glance one can determine the next letter number to be assigned, and missing correspondence can be identified and traced.

In general, the size of the project and complexity of the project organization tends to determine the dimensions of the filing system. The simplest organization might only require incoming and outgoing correspondence files, whereas a more complex system might require ingoing and outgoing correspondence files broken down by major contract entities such as prime contractor/owner, subcontractors and vendor files. The subcontractor should endeavor to separate serial-type correspondence. Minutes of meetings, for instance, should be kept in a separate file. If they are transmitted with a cover letter, it should not be detached, but a copy of the letter should be filed with the project’s incoming or outgoing correspondence as appropriate.

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The Holloway Consulting Group, LLC
Construction Project Consulting Firm
10885 W. Beloit Pl
Lakewood, CO 80227
Denver Phone: (303) 984-1941


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