My Contractor Has Walked Off Site, What Do I Do?

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Navigating Liability in Construction The Role of Limitation Clauses 1 Contractor

Having a contractor walk off the site can be a distressing and complex situation. This sudden interruption can lead to delays, additional costs, and significant stress. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate this challenging scenario and take appropriate action to mitigate the impact on your project.


1. Assess the Situation

The first step is to understand why the contractor has left the site. This involves:

· Contacting the Contractor: Attempt to communicate with the contractor directly to understand their reasons for leaving. There might be a solvable issue or a misunderstanding.

· Reviewing the Contract: Examine your contract for any clauses related to termination, dispute resolution, and the contractor’s obligations. The Contract should outline procedures for handling such situations.


2. Document Everything

It is crucial to maintain detailed records of all events and communications:

· Keep Written Records: Document all communications with the contractor, including emails, letters, and notes from phone calls.

· Photographic Evidence: Take photographs of the site as it was left to provide visual evidence of the work completed and any issues.


3. Notify Your Insurer

If you have insurance coverage for your project, notify your insurer as soon as possible. They can provide guidance on the next steps and may cover some of the additional costs incurred due to the contractor’s abandonment.


4. Seek Legal Advice

Engaging with a solicitor experienced in construction law is essential. They can help you:

· Understand Your Rights: Clarify your legal position and the contractor’s obligations under the Contract. Walking off site is likely to amount to a repudiation of the Contract.

· Draft a Formal Notice: Your solicitor can draft a formal notice to the contractor, detailing their breach of contract.

· Prepare for Legal Action: If necessary, your solicitor can guide you through the process of taking legal action to recover costs or seek other remedies.


5. Mitigate Damages

It’s important to take steps to mitigate any additional damages or costs:

· Secure the Site: Ensure the site is safe and secure to prevent any further damage or vandalism.

· Adjust Project Plans: Review and adjust your project plans to account for the delays and changes caused by the contractor’s departure.


6. Dispute Resolution

Many construction contracts include clauses for dispute resolution. Depending on your contract, you may: · Engage in Mediation: A neutral third party can help mediate the dispute between you and the contractor to reach a mutually acceptable solution. · Consider Arbitration: Arbitration can provide a binding resolution without going to court, often faster and less costly than litigation.

Having a contractor walk off site is undoubtedly challenging, but by taking prompt and decisive action, you can manage the situation effectively. Understanding your contract, documenting everything, seeking legal advice, and finding a reliable replacement contractor are key steps in mitigating the impact on your project.


For expert legal advice and representation in construction and commercial property matters, contact Barton Legal.

Please note, this article and any accompanying video or presentation are for educational and marketing purposes only. It must not be used for giving advice in any shape or form, and it is not a substitute for legal advice. The author does not accept responsibility for loss howsoever occasioned to any person or persons acting or refraining from action as a result of this material