There are many contracts drafted and signed for every major construction project and these documents can provide legal protection in the event of future disputes. Construction projects generate a vast amount of paperwork and safeguarding these records can be a daunting task. Implementing a document retention policy can shield a company from liability claims, as a contract, report, log, or record can provide supporting evidence for arbitration or litigation. Retention of documents is an essential practice for the success of a construction business.
Common construction disputes include breach of contract claims including:
- Non-compliance with payment, delays, scope of work disputes, defective work due to errors or omissions, and latent defects that can be discovered long after a project is completed. Workplace injuries and accidents, mechanic’s liens, property damage, negligent supervision, and copyright infringements are other types of claims.
The length of time that construction records should be retained depends on the statute of limitations and the statute of repose. In the State of Florida, a lawsuit for construction defects must be filed within four years from the issuance of a certificate of occupancy or when the owner takes possession of the property. The statute of repose, for latent defects, is ten years from the date that the owner takes possession. According to Florida and Federal recordkeeping requirements, payroll records are to be kept for a minimum of four years. The Internal Revenue Service can audit your company as far back as six years, therefore it is recommended that tax records be kept for at least seven years.
What Types of Documents Should Be Preserved?
Be diligent about safeguarding your contracts and records, as documentation is the framework of a plaintiff or defendant’s legal dispute. The vast amount of paperwork for major construction projects can include the initial contracts, insurance certificates, drawings and specs, design and engineering work, change orders, purchase orders, photographs of the construction process, bid documents, invoices, field reports, safety reports, payroll records, and business correspondence. The use of scanning for electronic storage may be a better option for document management than keeping manual records and it allows accessibility to the documents wherever they are needed. Another aspect of a business document retention policy is instituting detailed procedures that are used to destroy contracts and documentation that are no longer needed. However, intentionally destroying documents that are relevant to a pending litigation may suggest that the document contained information that is not favorable to your case.
The Boutty Law Firm, P.A. is a Multi-Service Business and Construction Law Firm
The Boutty Law Firm can provide counsel on all matters regarding construction and commercial law, from the bidding on a construction project to its completion. We handle all levels of complexity for our clients, in both state and federal courts. Attorney Shane Boutty is a state certified contractor and his experience and knowledge is invaluable in minimizing risks and finding effective and affordable solutions for his clients. We represent general contractors, subcontractors, developers, construction companies, homeowners, property owners, material suppliers, architects, and homeowner’s associations. Our law firm is adept at negotiations, arbitration, and court room litigation. Our goal is to protect your interests. We are located in Winter Park and serve clients in Orange, Seminole, and Volusia counties in Central Florida. Call our office at 407-537-0543 for legal advice and quality representation.