Construction projects can take years to complete and involve numerous people to see a project through to completion. Due to many moving parts, conflicts can and often do arise. Construction professionals need an efficient means for resolving these conflicts in order to maintain their current project as well as to keep future project opportunities on the horizon.
There are many causes of disputes including but not limited to:
- Defective work
- Defective plans and specifications
- Project delays
- Scheduling issues
- Payment issues
- Scope of work changes
- Differing site conditions
- Termination of a contractor or subcontractor
There are many ways to prevent disputes, but for those that are unavoidable, contractors will need to work with a Chattanooga contractor attorney to explore one or more dispute resolution methods: negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation. We will discuss negotiation and mediation in this section and arbitration and litigation in part two.
Negotiation is a traditional dispute resolution technique where disputing parties present documents in support of their claim in an effort to settle their conflict. Unlike arbitration and litigation, which can be adversarial in nature since one party wins and the other loses, negotiation strives to create a win-win resolution for all parties. With a negotiation clause, both parties agree to reach a fair and mutually satisfactory deal between themselves without third-party assistance.
Mediation is another traditional dispute resolution technique used to settle conflicts. In this scenario, however, parties will work with a neutral third party called a mediator to settle their dispute. It is best to enlist the help of a mediator with construction industry experience. Although a mediator is involved, the mediator does not make a binding decision. Power resides with the parties to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement and find solutions so they can continue a project and preserve their business relationships. Mediation is much faster and less expensive than the next two forms of dispute resolution.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.