Construction activities by their very nature involve conflict, because there are many participants within a project carrying out specialist activities in locations where other parties may simultaneously be doing the same.
The TIME-COST-QUALITY triangle governs construction activities on any project.
Time is a vital ingredient on every construction project, and it always appears to be insufficient for the tasks at hand. Time is the scarcest resource of all, and parties to a construction project often have conflict about the appropriate allocation of time to construction activities, If the conflict is not resolved, it becomes a dispute, and this is bad for the project as well as for each business.
Money which is the blood that flows through any construction project and any business, is vital for the health of the project or the business. A lot of conflict on construction projects revolves around money and sometimes the parties are unable to negotiate a satisfactory outcome for this conflict. Again, if the conflict is not resolved, it becomes a dispute, and this is bad for the project as well as for each business.
Each participant to a construction project have a different view about the required quality for any construction activity. Whilst there may be relevant standards, and specifications in the contract, conflict arises as to whether work of a satisfactory quality has been provided. Again, if the conflict is not resolved, it becomes a dispute, and this is bad for the project as well as for each business.
RESOLUTION OF CONFLICT
In the dispute resolution clause of many construction contracts there is an expert determination clause, which allows an independent, suitably qualified expert to decide the merits of the dispute. The process is agreed by the parties in the contract, but it is generally a very rapid, and often there is no appeal from the decision made by the expert. The advantage of this approach is that the dispute is resolved quickly.
Ideally parties should select a person with both technical and legal qualifications, who is familiar with evaluating conflicting evidence and making written decisions, because it is a very difficult task.
Our principal Chris Lenz has carried out expert determinations, and regularly makes adjudication decisions, and is technically and legally qualified, if you are seeking an expert. Alternatively, we can help you if you must either engage an expert, or provide submissions to them. Please call us on (07) 3220 0299.