1. Check the financial stability of your employer and/or its funding: Your employer pays you after the work has been performed and so their financial stability is important. Check their financial records and status and remember, your employer is as susceptible as everyone else to cashflow issues so wherever possible keep an eye on their finances.
2. Agree a contract before you start work: Ensure that a contract is in place before work starts. Time and commercial pressures can intervene and often work starts without an agreed contract in place. But if issues arise, parties may spend time and money arguing over which contractual provisions apply, which can be a long drawn out process.
3. Notice provisions for additional time and money: Follow the notice provisions in the contract. If the employer is not notified in accordance with the notice provisions, then you may miss out on recovering additional time and money.
4. Have good records and keep them: Records are key. Take meeting minutes, telephone attendance notes, send emails and letters etc. and keep them all. When trying to unravel a dispute on a project, these records are of paramount importance. You should keep records for as long as you are liable under the contract which is usually 12 years for construction agreements.
5. Co-ordinate payment periods: Make sure all payment periods within the contractual chain interlink. Make sure you have enough time to pay your sub-contractors and suppliers bearing in mind the payment periods under your contract with the employer. But remember ‘pay when paid’ and ‘pay when certified’ clauses are prohibited.
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