Surely there must be another way forward?
The legal costs relating to disputes in the UK construction industry rose to almost £28 million in 2021, up a staggering 117% from 2019, according to some industry reports.
Worldwide, that figure is believed to be around £50 million and as these figures continue to increase, more and more builders and clients are starting to ask the question – surely there has to be another way?
Like most forms of litigation, the only people who seem to get rich from such disputes are lawyers which is why more and more construction professionals are using the services of skilled mediators and arbitrators. It is quicker and in most cases a lot less expensive than going to court.
It is now thought that around half of all disputes are resolved by arbitration and this is likely to increase as costs rise, according to Global, one of the fastest growing suppliers of new home warranties in the UK.
Global have partnered with dispute specialists Juris Resolutions and between the two companies, they will be widening the message of promoting early intervention and mediation in construction disputes to avoid costly court cases.
“Global has always been dedicated to delivering better ways of working for its construction clients by offering rigorous inspections throughout the build process to reduce time spent on snagging, rectifying mistakes and other issues” said Kathy McKenna, Managing Director at Global.
“Partnering with Juris is a natural progression for us as we are always looking to help our clients save money and work more efficiently, but we are aware that disputes will happen and in such cases arbitration for us is the best way forward. Our two companies will be encouraging clients to go down this route in the event of a dispute, helping us to increase our service levels to our customers.”
Juris offers a range of personal and online services to make the entire mediation process simple, efficient and client friendly with a range of practical, sensible and economic methods of resolving such disputes. Using the skills of one of their trained mediators helps the parties to overcome the personal, emotional, factual, technical or legal blocks that are driving the dispute.
Their services include video conferencing which allows mediations, arbitrations, adjudications and early neutral evaluations to be conducted via Zoom, overseen by Juris neutrals who have been trained in online resolution.
A skilled mediator can also enable the parties to objectively understand and acknowledge their differences and to find a sensible solution to them, not only achieving a ‘fair’ result, but also allowing the business relations between the parties to continue without irreparable harm.
Adjudication is also a well-established and statutory means of solving disputes in the construction industry and Global, together with Juris, can provide a speedy, interim resolution of the dispute, enabling the parties to continue the construction project.
Adjudicators can be technical experts, but such experts are rarely lawyers and do not always have the legal skills necessary to analyse the facts in the context of the contractual obligations of the parties. Juris has lawyers who are experienced in construction issues and also have the requisite legal training to put such disputes in proper context.
Other services include early neutral evaluation, a highly flexible process which allows the parties in dispute to bring their issues before a neutral third party who can provide an advisory opinion on how the dispute is likely to be decided. This can be valuable where the dispute concerns legal issues such as contract interpretation or documentary analysis.
Of course, no two arbitration cases are the same and in an industry as complex as construction then disputes are inevitable covering multiple areas such as poorly prepared and/or executed contract documents, inadequate planning, financial issues and communication problems.
Disputes frequently occur based on personal issues. These can be the result of individuals feeling that their rights have been marginalised or breached due to action or inaction by the other party, but it is mostly the failure to complete work on time or to keep to approved plans and specifications that cause the most issues.
However, the biggest dispute of them all is the failure to make payments on time – and that’s when you really need companies such as Global and Juris on your side – it’s the real alternative to “See you in Court.”