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Defending yourself against a claim of construction fraud

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2023 | Business Law, Construction Defects

Construction professionals in Washington take pride in their jobs. Builders, contractors and everyone else involved in a construction project all have important roles to play to ensure the successful completion of a construction project.

If you work in the construction industry, you know that each project is unique and involves requirements unique to that particular client. The details of these requirements are spelled out in various contracts.

Why you cannot afford a fraud accusation

As a construction professional, you know how important it is to have a good reputation. Poor reviews or negative feedback from customers can affect your business growth and profitability.

A claim of construction fraud can severely damage your reputation, even if the claim is ultimately proven false. Therefore, it is important to act quickly if a customer accuses you of fraud or misrepresentation.

Common types of construction fraud

There are many different types of construction fraud. Some common types include asking for additional money after running into unexpected problems, leaving out key project information, using lower quality materials than your contract specifies or colluding with a building owner or your subcontractors.

You may also be accused of accepting money and not doing the work, not completing the required work or not finishing the project on time.

Construction projects are complex and involve many different deadlines. This is part of what makes resolving construction law disputes so complex.

Communicate with your client

Sometimes, what the customer views as fraud is simple miscommunication or a misunderstanding.

When you are accused of fraud, talk with the customer about the problem and listen to their concerns. A conversation or clarification of the issue may be all that is necessary to resolve the problem.

Arbitration or mediation

If this does not work, an alternative dispute resolution method such as arbitration or mediation might help. Some construction contracts specify that parties must arbitrate or mediate issues before any lawsuits are initiated.

Both arbitration and mediation involve you and the client meeting privately with a third party to discuss the issue and try to reach a resolution. An arbitrator can decide the matter, but a mediator cannot.


If you do end up being sued for fraud, a construction law attorney can analyze your situation and defend you against a claim of construction fraud.

Intent is a key element of nearly every case involving some type of fraud. This means that the person accusing you of fraud must prove that you intended to defraud them or cause them harm, when the situation may simply be a good faith dispute over services, payment or requirements.

Lack of intent is just one potential defense to an accusation of construction fraud. Discussing your case with an attorney can help you learn of any additional defenses that may apply to your situation.