Resolving Construction Disputes Effectively

When customers are disappointed with the work that a contractor has carried out, construction disputes can often develop. The customer may feel the building firm has not undertaken all the work agreed upon, or they may be dissatisfied with the quality of the workmanship. If the dispute cannot be resolved outside the legal system, litigation may be necessary, and customers will need the services of a barrister.

Written Quotes and Payment Schedules – Many construction disputes can be averted if customers take some straightforward precautions at the outset. Before engaging a builder, customers should look for, and verify, references. It is vitally important to engage a reputable building firm. Customers should also look for a detailed, written and signed quote. This should state clearly what work is to be carried out, and list the payment schedule.

Remain unemotional – If construction disputes do arise, the first step to resolve them should be to discuss the difficulties with the building firm. This should be done in a non-accusatory and unemotional manner. The aim is to come to a satisfactory decision, and this will be harder to achieve if there is a lot of acrimony between the parties.

Trying to get a speedy resolution in construction disputes may be particularly important when building work comes to a halt because of the dispute. This will be a prime concern if the work is being carried out on the family home. You should bear in mind that your building firm will be just as anxious as you are to reach a satisfactory agreement.

Professional Intermediaries – If you feel uncomfortable holding direct discussions with your builder, you could consider hiring a chartered surveyor or an architect to deal with the building firm on your behalf. If you have had plans prepared for the work being done, then the person who created the plans could be your best option.

Mediation – The next step in resolving construction disputes is to try mediation. Subject to both parties agreeing to it, the difficulties can be raised before an independent expert. That expert will try to get a legally non-binding agreement between the disputing parties.

Adjudication – Appointing an adjudicator to decide on the issues involved is a more formal way of dealing with construction disputes. The process is comparable to mediation or conciliation in that the facts are shown to a third-party expert. Adjudication differs in that the adjudicator’s decision will be binding, but it can be challenged in a court action.

Arbitration – Arbitration is another alternative in resolving disputes. If mediation is not considered, then this method is of construction dispute resolution is next in line for being the most used. The principal difference between arbitration and adjudication is that both parties agree beforehand that the arbitrator’s decision will be binding.

Civil Legal Action – If no resolution can be found in construction disputes after following one or more of the steps outlined above, the only option may be to take legal action. Before committing to legal action, you should discuss the matter with a legal professional to determine the probability of success. There are many factors to bear in mind, and a qualified barrister is the one who is best placed to advise clients on whether they should proceed or not.

Which type of legal council, solicitor or barrister? – Some people choose to seek the advice of a solicitor at this stage, however very often a solicitor will take on the case and then they themselves will seek the advice of a specialist barrister. This causes delays to you and you will receive both costs.

Many barristers will normally detail their particular areas of specialisation on their websites. As a consequence, individuals who are involved at this stage of a construction dispute are finding it easy to discover, consult and perhaps engage a barrister that has the appropriate expertise, and so save themselves both time and money.

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