Disputes can often arise in construction, and there are generally a range of options companies pursue in order to find the required resolution. At the end of the day, the aim is to ensure the construction project goes ahead in the best possible way, and that the outcomes can still be achieved. So what do people generally utilise when disputes arise?
● General Negotiation. It’s best at first to try to negotiate the dispute, to see if things can be resolved without involving legal representatives. Many times, a change of tact or some good open communication can be enough to resolve disputes. Pick up the phone and meet. Communication and record keeping is key in ensuring fair and open resolution. Both parties may also agree to bring in a 3rd party mediator, to help facilitate the process.
● Mediation. Another popular form of resolution is mediation. It’s best practice these days to put Mediation clauses into construction contracts. This means that a neutral, pre-appointed third party can come in to take a look at the situation and help parties work towards resolution. Sometimes even calling in an ADR Board can be helpful in keeping the project on track.
● Arbitration. In the rare event that Mediation does not facilitate resolution, Arbitration becomes the next step. Arbitration allows both parties to decide on the issues that need to be decided by the Arbitrator, give evidence and make submissions. This then allows the Arbitrator to make the final binding decision. Arbitration allows you to have your day in Court without the wait or responsibility for the decision. It’s done and dusted!
● Litigation. The last and most serious solution is to look at litigation. Litigation is a common choice but is the most time consuming and costly of all options. It is generally the last option if no other alternative can be agreed upon. Most disputes can be worked through via mediation or arbitration. With so much pressure on the courts these days, they are also recommending parties start with mediation.
Disputes arise but it’s how you deal with them that affects the outcome and how quickly a project can or can’t move forward, choose wisely and resolve quickly and effectively.