If a dispute arises under a construction agreement, there are many options by which the aggrieved party can seek resolution. The number one consideration when considering construction dispute resolution is that, if possible, the parties should explore alternative dispute resolution options. Second, if the dispute is one that may be resolved outside of the courtroom through arbitration or mediation, the parties should ensure that their case is understood by requesting an arbitrator or mediator that is professionally trained to understand the construction industry. Last, anyone in a construction dispute should not sell his or her own situation short. If the stakes are high and he or she feels like the cards are stacked in his or her favor, then litigation is probably the way to go.
Arbitration and mediation are attractive construction dispute resolution options as they are typically quickly resolved and less costly than litigating the issue through a court. In a dispute where the disagreeing parties are not far off in their demands of each other, employing one of the alternative dispute resolution methods can save both parties thousands of dollars. Additionally, since both parties most likely want to put the issue behind them and finish the construction job, the relatively fast resolution makes arbitration and mediation preferable means of construction dispute resolution in situations where the completion of the project is held up by the dispute.
In the event that the parties agree to take the issue to arbitration or mediation, there are options available that are specifically tailored for construction dispute resolution. Many alternative dispute resolution centers employ construction professionals who have years of experience in the industry and specialized knowledge that enable them to understand all the nuances of construction dispute resolution. By taking some time to research alternative dispute resolution centers prior to initiating arbitration or mediation, parties to a construction dispute can find the center that is best equipped to meet their needs.
As preferable of an option arbitration or mediation may be for construction dispute resolution in most cases, if there is a relatively high amount of money at stake and if the party’s case is strong, then he or she may want to push for litigation. The litigation process is designed to flesh out all the pertinent issues and a court victory has a better chance of resulting in a windfall for the winning party than arbitration or mediation, which by nature are more collaborative. Most of the time, just the threat of litigating a strong case will compel the other party to settle.