By Steve Rizer
“Once you realize you’re in a troubled project, it’s probably time to take a look at your contract-administration procedures and make sure you’re being as sharp and diligent with those as you need to be.” This is one of many pieces of advice that attorney Paul Berning offered during “How to Survive a Troubled Project,” a 90-minute webinar that WPL Publishing held last week. “We all know that if the jobs are going well and everybody’s working well together, then maybe the paperwork is not quite as official as the contract requires or is not as normal, but if you get into a troubled project, you really need to start thinking about your contract-administration obligations to make sure that you’re doing things timely and preserving your rights.”
Berning made the suggestion during a webinar segment examining “the benefits of acting early” on a troubled project. In the same segment, Law Offices of Paul W. Berning’s managing partner urged audience members to gather facts and information while they are fresh.
“Imagine a project that’s got a problem with valves,” Berning said. “Well, you’ve got somebody on the project team who’s dealing with this valve problem daily, and he knows which documents are critical to it and he knows where they are, whether it’s on a server or in the file cabinet. And, if you work with him early on to gather all of the critical [information] into a package of documents on the valve issue, then it’s going to be far less expensive and far more efficient than trying to find those documents when the project’s over and maybe the lawyer’s trying to find them instead of the guy who spent most of his workday for weeks dealing with the problem.”
Berning recommended that this person be debriefed “while the issues are fresh in his mind and he remembers all of the details and can point you toward leads and issues for developing your case. If you’re talking to somebody a year or year-and-a-half after he was on a project, it’s normal -- it’s human -- [if] he doesn’t remember as much. He’s looking forward and he’s thinking about the project he’s on now. He just doesn’t remember as much about the former project.”
To purchase a recording of the webinar, click here.