Working as contractors, project owners, sureties and even lenders unfortunately puts some construction professionals at risk for legal disputes. Disputes over the specifics of the job, the cost of the job, change orders as the construction is ongoing or the quality of the completed project or even delays in construction, can all cause grief and headaches for a property owner and for an experienced construction expert.
In a typical dispute over construction, the case can move forward into litigation or into the arbitration process. A third option, however, may be more ideal for all involved parties, and that method is mediation. Many parties have had success negotiating their disputes with a mediator outside of the courtroom. Mediation also has many benefits for all parties associated with a construction project.
To start with, mediation is less expensive than other methods. Usually, a mediator handling a construction case will charge by the hour, which benefits parties since construction cases generally take a few days or less to complete. This is also beneficial for business owners and executives who don’t want to miss too many days from work. Since the preparation for mediation can be completed more quickly, the burden of preparing for weeks or months in advance is removed for both parties involved.
Mediation is a much more expedient way to manage disputes, since the entire process can be completed in as short as a few days. Just waiting for a trial date on a construction case can take months or years; mediation can be scheduled simply in a few days. When construction projects are involved where resolution is possible, quick agreements can allow the project to get back on track right away.
In the mediation setting, parties can work together to generate a solution that’s mutually agreeable. In a courtroom setting, the scenario can make parties feel like it’s a winner take all system, but mediation allows the sides to generate creative agreements. Mediation can also be helpful when other issues have already been settled in past mediation sessions, providing an easy ground to discuss contested problems without having to go back into court.
Construction mediations tend to be handled by a mediator with specific experience in that industry. Mediators are trained in best practices and can use their industry expertise to work through arguments. Unless a specific mediator is named in an existing contract, the parties can review the experience and background of their chosen mediator before the process begins, lending some comfort about the professional who will lead them through. There are numerous benefits to mediation, and both parties tend to find that a solution is easily reached.
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