General contractors usually want to do whatever the customer asks for. In many cases, this involves changing the scope of a construction job drastically after work has already begun. Contractors also change the scope of work due to conditions of the existing construction that could not be seen at the beginning of a project.

Whatever the reason, as a subcontractor, the expansion of a job’s scope can have seriously negative impact on your finances and your career. You need to protect your rights.

Just a quick glance at Nevada’s construction law statutes regulating contractors and subcontractor relationships makes it clear that this is an extremely complex area of law. As a subcontractor, you do not need to be a legal expert. However, you do need to know how to protect your rights when a contractor expands the scope of a job.

Here are a few things you can do to either avoid the expansion of scope problems or protect your interests if this happens:

  • Have more work booked: Have a job lined up after the current job if possible and communicate this to the general contractor right away, even before you sign a work agreement or contract. If the general contractor knows about this, he or she may be less likely to be so accommodating to the customer in the first place, which could help you avoid these problems.
  • Get it in the contract: Determine what you will charge for extra days, or if that would be grounds for backing out of the job. Whatever you decide, make sure you get it in writing on the contract.
  • Keep track of all damages: If the general contractor forces you to expand the scope of work, keep a record of all the extra costs and problems that this is causing you. Loss of other work because of the extension of the current job, tool rentals, gas money and anything else that caused a loss of anything valuable as a result of the job extension is worth keeping track of. You could be compensated for these costs if your case goes to court.

Doing just a few things to protect yourself in your relationship with general contractors could save a significant impact on your entire career. While it is critical to be professional and do everything you can to retain your relationship with general contractors, you also need to protect yourself on every project from the harm that can be caused by expansion of scope.