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The construction industry in West Virginia is booming; in fact, it is running rings around states like California and Nevada. However, more construction activity brings a greater opportunity for disputes over various issues. Some contract disputes must be settled in court, but many can be resolved without litigation.

The good news

In 2017, West Virginia led the nation in the highest percentage of new construction jobs, according to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report showed that 4,300 jobs were added in the construction industry, which represented a 14.4 percent increase over 2016. With this increase in construction work, it only makes sense that there would be an increase in lengthy contract disputes.

A 2018 report prepared by Arcadis, a design and consultancy firm, showed that the cost of North American construction-related disputes in 2017 declined for a fourth straight year. However, the length of time needed for settling these issues increased from 15.6 months in 2016 to 17.7 months in 2017.

Reasons for the disagreements

Law firms that handle construction litigation and resolution techniques manage a variety of contract disputes. In North America, contract errors or omissions were the primary cause of the disputes that arose in 2017. The next most frequent problem was poor contract administration. In addition to disagreement about contract terms, an experienced general contractor will tell you that many disputes erupt over change orders. Homeowners also clash with contractors over the quality of work, failure to perform or a variety of post-construction problems, such as structural defects.

Future projects in the works

In 2017, the voters in West Virginia approved $1.6 billion to begin road construction projects across the state. Governor Justice has also signed legislation to borrow funds that will be used to revitalize West Virginia's state parks. All these endeavors are large, complex infrastructure projects that will produce the need for more jobs, which is great news for the state. We must, however, remember that construction contract disputes are inevitable. An experienced attorney who handles construction litigation can explain the best resolution options available for these costly and time-consuming disputes.

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