Daniel W. Uhlfelder P.A. | Attorneys At Law


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Avoid scope creep at every turn

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2023 | Small Business

Projects both large and small face can get derailed and go wildly above budget. Some causes are unavoidable, like the weather here in Florida where hurricanes are frequent and unwelcome occurrences.

Other causes, however, remain firmly under human control and can be largely avoided with good project management. But there remains one particularly insidious problem in the construction industry that we’ve addressed below.

Has scope creep entered your construction project?

The goal of business owners is to satisfy their clients. But as any contractor will emphatically tell you, the customer is certainly not always right. 

One of the ways that disputes and other issues arise is through scope creep. It can start out innocently enough ─ the client wants a larger garage or a bigger mudroom, for instance. It’s tempting to magnanimously promise, “We’ll be able to accommodate that.” Here are some potential problems with that approach:

When you can’t live up to your word

What happens if you later discover that there’s a right-of-way in the path of that promised expansion or it’s a protected wetland? Now you have a frustrated client to manage.

When you give an inch, they want a mile

Once you cede your ground and enhance your contractual obligations to your client, they may keep on pushing your limits to get more for their money. That’s a stressor no one needs.

When there are too many people trying to run the show

Most contractors sub out some of their jobs by necessity. But it’s vital for all of your subs to know that they are subordinate to your authority regarding any agreements they may make with the client. Ultimately, it is you who bears liability whenever a project nose-dives.

Ambiguous contracts make for legal issues

Unless your contract is ironclad and specific, outcomes and obligations can be subject to interpretation. Ensure that your contracts have been professionally reviewed and protect you and your company.