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4 construction scams developers should watch for

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2024 | Construction Contracts

Embarking on a construction project is a significant undertaking. It involves substantial investments of both time and money.

Unfortunately, the construction industry is not immune to scams that can jeopardize the success of a project.

1. Shady contractors and low-ball bids

Unscrupulous contractors may lure developers with enticingly low bids. They then later reveal hidden costs or subpar workmanship. These bad actors often cut corners, using substandard materials or unqualified labor, leading to costly rework and delays. Developers should thoroughly vet contractors, checking references and past projects.

2. Material substitution schemes

Some untrustworthy suppliers may engage in material substitution scams. This involves delivering lower-quality materials than agreed upon in the contract. Developers should closely monitor deliveries and ensure that the materials meet the specified standards. Regular inspections and adherence to contractual agreements are important in preventing these scams from compromising the integrity of the construction project.

3. Phantom workers and payroll fraud

Another common construction scam involves contractors inflating the number of workers on a project to overcharge developers for labor costs. Developers should maintain accurate records of workers on-site and cross-reference them with payroll documents to identify any discrepancies. A recent study indicated that billing accounts for 26% of fraudulent activities in the construction industry. Regular site visits and communication with the project manager can help uncover and address potential payroll fraud.

4. Permits and licensing deceptions

Some scammers exploit the complexity of construction permits and licensing requirements to deceive developers. They may claim to possess the necessary permits or licenses while lacking the proper documentation. Developers must independently verify the legitimacy of these documents and ensure that all required permits are from the relevant authorities.

By staying informed and employing careful oversight, developers can protect their investments and ensure the successful completion of their construction projects.