E-mail forms a significant portion of the documentation available for a construction project, particularly when resolving a dispute. Most, if not all, of my cases involving construction issues like the scope-of-work, delays, and defects have relied heavily on the e-mail communications sent before, during, and after the dispute arose.
Gene Heady with Smith Currie & Hancock LLP posted a good article making some helpful recommendations for the use of e-mail by construction professionals during a construction project, including:
- Avoid using foul language, sarcasm or off-color humor.
- Keep your e-mails simple.
- Give facts not opinions.
- Avoid being self-critical in internal e-mail communications.
- When upset or angry, rigorously adhere to the 24-hour rule.
- Use the Subject line to quickly and accurately convey the substance of the e-mail.
- Only discuss one project in each e-mail.
- Follow-up important e-mails with letters.
- Assume deletion of e-mail will not prevent its later recovery.
- Maintain privileged nature of attorney-client communications.
Thanks to ARCADIS for bringing this to our attention through their Construction Claims Blog.