Disputes within the construction industry are an inevitable part of doing business. Well, that is the frequent punditry. While parties enter into contracts with the intention of successfully completing their projects without a dispute, often there can be an almost subconscious acceptance that a dispute over time and/or money will occur at some point during the works. It should not be the case that we simply accept this as inevitable and the industry must challenge such thinking and endeavour to improve the number of projects that are delivered claims-free.
Over the years, industry has been invited to take steps to address its adversarial nature, to collaborate and to avoid disputes. From evangelists such as Latham, Egan, McNulty or Wolstenholm, to the more recent collaborative working principles defined through BS 11000 and the new international standard, ISO 44001, “signposts” and techniques to assist projects in avoiding disputes do exist.
In spite of this, the construction industry is still predominantly seen as adversarial and divisive with claims becoming more complex, protracted and costly. There is clearly room for improvement and, rather than focus on remedies and contractual defences, clients should consider what contribution they can make to a more collaborative process from the outset, with the potential to avoid disputes from arising in the first place.
This post looks at one such client that has set out on a journey of collaboration and is challenging the inevitability of disputes across its portfolio. Continue reading