How To Resolve A Construction Dispute
Most construction projects begin, progress, and end relatively smoothly. Unfortunately, the construction industry sees more litigation than any other industry. There are any number of reasons as to why things go wrong. Contract language is misinterpreted. The weather doesn't cooperate. Various people don't cooperate. Issues with suppliers. Financing falls through. And yet, these disputes don't automatically need to end up in a courtroom. Below are some alternatives that can keep projects on or get them back on track, or at the very least, save all parties involved the time and expense of a drawn-out legal brawl.
Re-examine ContractThe contract is the official rule book for all parties involved in construction projects, and its administrator is its interpreter. When conflicts arise on a project, the administrator should be consulted. He or she can let parties know if contract stipulations are binding, or if there is "wiggle room" if issues arise.
Use MediationA mediator is a neutral third party who tries to help opposing parties find a mutually beneficial resolution. A mediation is not a legal proceeding, and the recommendations of the mediator are in no way binding.
Use AdjudicationIf mediation doesn't work, then adjudication may be considered. A formal legal proceeding set in a courtroom, in the case of adjudication all parties agree to allow the facts of the dispute be examined and ruled on by a judge (sometimes a jury). The outcome is binding, and cannot be appealed.
Use ArbitrationArbitration bears a number of similarities to mediation, except that in this case, the neutral third party can make a decision favoring one party if no mutual resolutions can be found. Arbitration decisions are legally binding in most jurisdictions.
Use LitigationA full-fledged courtroom trial involving lawyers, testimony, and evidence, litigation is a solution of last resort, and is costly and time consuming. Decisions are legally binding, although appeals are possible, though this further adds to delays and expense.
One way to avoid many construction issue disputes is by preparing, filing, and storing document in a way that creates an impeccable paper trail, and this can be achieved by using tools like Raken, whose reporting software creates and stores professional looking, compliant documents that deter disputes from reaching legal phases, saving firms time and money.