Contractors understand that construction contract disputes sometimes require a proactive response to help all parties involved reach a speedy resolution. Typically, when construction professionals encounter legal disputes, they have the option to use dispute resolution techniques, such as facilitating direct negotiations between company executives, mediation and arbitration to resolve the issue. If everything fails there is always litigation.
When attempting to resolve complex contract disputes through dispute resolution, as the dispute resolution process is passed from the project team to the legal team and then finally to the arbiter, the dispute resolution strategy must also accordingly change. However, the longer the process takes the more cost intensive it may become.
As the time passes, when it comes to the recollection of what happened, the project team will typically have a firm working knowledge of the circumstances that gave rise to the dispute. However, it is important to keep in mind that the project team’s recollection of the facts may decline in a protracted scenario as members of the team may move on to other projects. In order to maximize the chances of successfully resolving the contract dispute, construction professionals should strive to acquire an objective impartial summary of the factual and legal issues that gave rise to the contract dispute. They should also ascertain as best they can all critical records and accompanying information that all parties involved can exchange from the different project participants to help comprehend each party’s key claims and defenses.
Some tips that my help parties resolve a contract dispute include having a plan with an accompanying timetable for achieving each negotiating milestone and thus ultimately the final resolution. These may include a practical cost estimate for reaching each negotiating milestone and budget for those costs. Furthermore, it may help to listen carefully to and be amenable to considering recommendations from experienced and impartial well-informed neutral participants such as mediators, for example.
Source: Engineering News-Record, “How to Resolve Contract Disputes Proactively,” Gene Commander, Oct. 16, 2013