Play nice. Share. Use your words. You’ve heard these lessons since you were little, and there is a reason for that. When followed, these rules can improve many aspects of your life. The construction industry is no different. Almost every financial issue that arises on a construction project can be connected to a party not playing nice. Ethics are an important part of the construction industry and can cause a ripple effect in work projects. You decide whether the ripple effect is good or bad.

The Rules Apply to Everyone

Many financially nightmarish cases in the construction industry could have been easily avoided if one party or another simply played by the rules. The construction industry’s unique chain of work parties makes the industry financially risky. A party who is not financially smart during a project can freeze the entire job in its tracks. Non-payment and late payment can lead to lengthy legal battles and sometimes even foreclosure of the property. In those scenarios, no one wins (except lawyers). Treating every construction party with respect can go a long way and save lots of time and money. Fostering relationships and trust among the industry is key to a successful career, but success starts with ethical business practices.

Contracts and Communication are Key

Many problems that arise in the construction industry could be prevented if contracting and communication was better. In the beginning stages of any business relationship, how a contract is drawn up can have an enormous effect on the future. Making sure every contracting party understands the terms of the contract can prevent financial turmoil. Defining these terms in the contract can also avoid unnecessary litigation. Properly drafted lien waiver clauses can lead to much better working relationships.

Unfortunately, because of the unique structure of construction projects, sometimes contractual provisions aren’t the answer to future problems. Many parties are unknown to one another on the work project. This problem is mainly faced by sub-subcontractors and suppliers when non-payment or late payment occurs. Parties that can easily resolve this issue may not be aware of these parties’ existence, let alone that a financial problem has arisen. Communication can solve the problems much quicker. Mechanics liens can facilitate that communication. Filing for a mechanics lien (or threatening to) can build relationships by getting the attention of the owners and lenders and resolving the issue before it becomes untenable. The majority of the time that these situations go south, it is because one party is acting in a malicious and unethical manner.


Acting ethically doesn’t just help the soul, it helps the wallet. Some of these rules seem simple and childish, but they are highly effective. Use your words. Communication among every party can greatly improve the financial aspect of the construction industry. Play nice. Treating other parties with respect and refraining from malicious actions such as withholding payment and frivolous disputes can have the same effect. It may have been a very long time ago but kindergarten lessons still have value to them.

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