Keep those contracts separate

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A recent project bears out the importance of separate agreements. A subcontractor is suing the owner, since they had extras that were not paid by the contractor. If I’d been part of the contractor’s agreement instead of having my own, I also would have been sued, yet I had nothing to do with financial dealings between the other parties. During the depositions, for which I had to be interviewed (the court case), the plaintiff’s attorney explained that it was a smart idea to have been independent.

It works best to have separate contracts for each of the parties if you really want to keep things simple. I’ve learned this through many years of project administration, in which so many companies can be involved that it becomes difficult to figure out who the responsible party was. Your main objective should be to define the tasks, who will be responsible to perform each stage, from planning and building to furnishing and closing out, and have separate agreements to keep parties responsible.

©2013 Monte Leeper. Readers are encouraged to send questions to, with “Herald question” in the subject line, or to Herald Homes, 2 Endo Blvd., Garden City, NY 11530, Attn: Monte Leeper, architect.

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