Construction projects can quickly come to a halt when construction disputes arise between parties involved – these may involve time disputes, payment disputes and safety disputes.

Negotiation is usually the fastest and least costly way of resolving disputes, however if that fails arbitration or legal proceedings may be necessary. Each option offers different advantages and disadvantages.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a process which enables parties to resolve disputes outside the courtroom and can save both time, expense, and any unpleasant feelings associated with litigation.

There are various forms of ADR available today, such as mediation, arbitration and expert determination. Mediation often serves as the initial step in ADR as it provides parties an informal setting in which to discuss their disputes with an impartial mediator – it helps reduce tensions while improving communications, clarify issues and find mutually acceptable resolutions.

Arbitration is a more formal method that involves both parties agreeing to have their dispute decided by an impartial third party, called an arbitrator. Arbitration may be faster and cheaper than court proceedings while still offering some level of protection; typically though, parties decide if ADR should be utilized themselves although in certain instances this decision can be mandated through contract clauses or court orders.


Mediation offers an alternative to litigation that typically can take months or years, as well as cost significantly less than court. Large construction cases may need to be resolved through traditional arbitration with one arbitrator acting alone.

Mediation is an informal problem-solving process designed to encourage parties to negotiate from their interests rather than positions, helping all participants understand the underlying concerns that led to their dispute and lead to improved relationships as well as more comprehensive solutions.

Scope, variation and instruction disputes: When changes to scope occur and who pays additional costs are unresolved. Time disputes: There can also be disputes related to project scheduling – from ordering tasks to the duration of specific activities – while design disputes include disagreements over design philosophies as well as disagreements regarding designer responsibilities or errors that lead to disagreements over designs themselves. Usually mediation sessions take place privately so as to protect confidential information or trade secrets from being made public.


Arbitration can be an efficient alternative to litigation when disputes involve time constraints. It requires less expensive paperwork for both sides and a hearing where both can present evidence directly in front of an arbitrator who then makes his or her decision.

Arbitration’s main advantage lies in its confidentiality; parties can discuss sensitive material without fear that it will become public knowledge. Furthermore, arbitration helps parties save money by limiting discovery – this involves exchanging information and witnesses before presenting their case before an arbitrator. Though arbitration can help resolve construction disputes quickly and efficiently, it may not always be suitable. Misinterpretations issues, differing site conditions or poorly written contracts often need alternative dispute resolution approaches instead.


Conflict is costly and disruptive to projects; it can halt their progress and diminish quality. But with proper communication, compromise, and the incorporation of dispute resolution methods into contracts, disputes can often be avoided or resolved quickly and efficiently.

Negotiation is the go-to method of dispute resolution in construction, providing both parties an opportunity to discuss an issue and attempt to come to an agreement without binding agreements or legally binders such as arbitration or litigation becoming necessary. Negotiations also helps maintain positive relationships among project participants while keeping costs and timelines down.

Assume, for instance, an owner has an issue with their contractor regarding improper installation of countertops. He or she could opt to utilize expert determination with a medical construction specialist as this will give a binding ruling regarding financial responsibility – though for maximum success of mediation it would be prudent to choose an experienced mediator with knowledge of construction industry intricacies.

Comments are closed.