I was wandering through downtown Wilmington, North Carolina the other week after a trial was pushed off of the court docket. Not two feet away from each other I saw these two signs.
Ask yourself—if you were looking for an (illegal) parking spot to run a quick errand—which spot would you park in? The one with the sign that nicely asks you not to park there, or the one with the sign that says they will tow you if you do? I think we can all agree that in this case, being nice does not help that parking spot’s owner. You know the other guy means business, so you take him seriously.
What does all this have to do with architecture or engineering?
It is a stark reminder that words can be powerful. Your contract language can make the difference between getting what you want (the empty parking spot) versus having to live with something you don’t (someone in your space). It can mean the difference between the dispute venue you favor or the right to additional compensation.
When it comes to your livelihood, don’t chance it to be nice. Gentlemen’s agreements and saying “please” just don’t cut it any more.
Which parking spot would you use? Do I even have to ask? Saying please is all well and good, but stating your rights upfront will get you farther. Sign up for email updates directly to your inbox, so you never miss a post here at Construction Law NC!