Why You Need Advice Regarding Construction Law and Agreements in South Africa
Whether you are the contractor, sub-contractor, or commissioning client, having a construction agreement in place is vital for the management of your relationship with the other party. Terms and conditions of service delivery, payment dates, and clauses for non-performance are elements of the agreement that help to determine the rights and obligations of each party.
With the construction process being complex, often involving several parties, it is essential to seek advice from attorneys specialising in construction law to help draft or review the agreement between the parties. This is true, whether you are the employer, contractor, or sub-contractor.
Without a written construction agreement in place, it is difficult to resolve disputes and especially if you wish to make use of an arbitration process to do so. It is thus recommended that you first seek construction law advice from attorneys experienced in such to help avoid costly legal pitfalls, especially when dealing with international clients or service providers. To help you understand the importance of the agreement and legal advice, we briefly discuss elements of the construction contract below.
The Purpose of the Contract
The contract creates enforceable responsibilities, rights, and obligations for each party to the agreement. Once it is signed by all parties, it becomes a legally binding agreement. This means that each party to the agreement has certain obligations to fulfil according to the stipulations of the agreement. Failure by a party to fulfil their obligations means that the party is in breach of the contract. A properly drafted agreement has specific remedies in place, enabling the other party to take steps within the boundaries of construction law to ensure fulfilment of the agreement. The party, for instance, can ask for payment of additional money for time delays or non-performance by the other party.
Seek construction law advice to ensure that the contract includes the most important elements. It should state how long the project will take to complete, what the cost of the project is, and what the terms of payment are, in addition to how frequently payment must take place. The agreement should stipulate what happens if a party defaults and to what extent the common law will apply.
Parties to the Agreement
The client commissions the project and is often the employer, although the client can commission a project management firm that enters into construction agreements with various parties. There are usually two parties to the agreement, but various parties are involved in the project. As such, various agreements may be in place with the different role players.
When you make use of our construction law services, we will also provide you with advice regarding contracts with different role players. If you are a contractor, sub-contractor, or employee of such, you will benefit from our guidance in understanding the agreement and ensuring that it is fair.
Should a dispute arise regarding payment, you will want an effective and affordable solution to ensure the enforcement of the terms and conditions of the agreement. To this effect, we assist with arbitration. It is a process whereby both parties agree to arbitration at a date and time that suits them both. An arbitrator is appointed and after hearing both sides, makes an enforceable decision. Also talk to us about arbitration to help resolve disputes within a reasonable timeframe.
Types of Contracts
We offer assistance with the drafting and reviewing of standard forms or construction contracts, in addition to custom agreements to suit your particular building and construction project.
Call our labour lawyers in Johannesburg at 011 234 2125 for construction law advice and assistance.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call on our attorneys for legal advice, rather than relying on the information herein to make any decisions. The information is relevant to the date of publishing – September 2018.