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How To Avoid And Resolve Construction Disputes

Construction projects can often lead to dispute between the employer, contractor, subcontractor or an architect. Whilst constructions projects in today’s economy are essential for the growth and development, they can often result in long and costly legal battles.

The cause of most construction disputes can be related to delays, cost budgets increasing, quality of workmanship by the contractor or sub-contractor, lack of understanding of the contract that parties enter into.

How to avoid disputes during your construction project

  • Seek advice on the contract you are entering into. This is very crucial as the contract stipulates the work to be done, timelines, payment terms and procedure for handling disputes.
  • Communication with all parties and aim to resolve matters before they escalate.
  • Keep record of all communications throughout the project and seek clarification if necessary.
  • Keep record of any changes and adjust the timelines accordingly ensuring they are reasonable and realistic.
  • Ensure that regular site visits are undertaken either by yourself, an agent or a project manager.

Resolving a dispute

  • Negotiation which involves parties agreeing a mutually acceptable resolution and moving forward. This is cost effective and saves relationships.
  • Mediation involves a mediator facilitating discussions to help parties reach a settlement. This is confidential, saves time, costs and can give parties creativity to come up with solutions that suit them.
  • Arbitration which involves an arbitrator hearing evidence and making a binding decision. This can be faster than litigation through the court however can be quite costly.
  • Adjudication which involves adjudicator resolving the technical aspects of a dispute and can be very quick. It is binding and a decision is usually delivered within 28 days of submitting the claim to an adjudicator.

How to avoid disputes?

  • Engage experts such as lawyers, construction managers and financial advisors when entering into the contract so you understand your rights and obligations fully.
  • If there are delays or issues with costs, seek legal advice as you may need to serve notices within specific timeframes and if you miss the deadline, you may lose the opportunity to correct the mistake.
  • Maintain flexibility as construction projects can often involve change of time frames due to factors which cannot always be foreseen.
  • Focus on maintaining relationships

If you are facing a construction dispute and need expert assistance, please contact our Partner; Reema Chugh who specialises in Property & Construction disputes. Reema is member of the Society of Construction law and therefore up to date with the market trends and resolution techniques in such disputes. To speak to Reema or one of our property disputes experts please call 0330 822 3451 or request a callback. 


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