One of the primary drivers of business for construction consulting services is claim management. Claims are fairly common in construction, and companies will use consulting firms that can quickly handle a claim. Your job as the consultant consists of three phases: identify the type of claim, gather documentation to complete the claim, and advise the client on next steps.
Identifying the Claim
Some of the most common construction claims involve personnel, but others involve shortages and work stoppages. If a refinery hires construction turnaround services, for instance, and the crew is late in their work versus the initial assessment, it’s usually going to be a claim related to work stoppage. The crew itself may have a personnel claim to file if their failure was the result of contractors not showing up on time.
The backbone of any claim is the documentation, so you have to be careful in proving your case. Make sure you have receipts for the client’s purchases, and work orders documenting their side of the work. Look for key documents that prove what your client was asked to do, what actually happened, and within what time frames.
Advising the Client
In some cases, mediation or even trial may be the best course of action. You can step in as a construction expert witness at that point, to help argue the claim, or recommend a mediator for the client to consider. Remember, the client will be legally bound to abide by the outcome so your reputation is staked on these types of decisions. Carefully assess your client’s chances of winning a favorable verdict if he must move forward to recover losses.
Lyle Charles is a construction expert witness with 40 years of experience navigating construction claims, and assisting businesses of all sizes to resolve claims quickly and efficiently.