Even the simplest of construction projects can include multiple parties and a virtual labyrinth of contractual provisions. The volume of agreements involved in constructions makes disputes inevitable. Those disputes can bring a project to a halt, costing everyone involved a considerable amount of time, frustration, and money. While traditional litigation is always an option, mediation should be considered as a cost-effective and expeditious alternative.
Common Construction Disputes
Whether the project is a simple roof repair on a residential home or building a high-rise apartment building from the ground up, the odds of a dispute arising at some point during any construction project are higher than in most industries. Disputes may occur at any phase of the project and for an endless number of reasons; however, some common reasons for a construction dispute include:
- Breach of contract claims
- Construction defect claims
- Subcontractor disputes
- Third-party vendor disputes
- Product liability claims
- Premises liability accidents
- Billing disputes
- Employee/employer disputes
Traditional Litigation vs. Mediation
Traditional litigation in a civil lawsuit is often a slow and methodical process. In a construction dispute, the complicated nature of the underlying relationships between the parties and the complexity of the contracts involved tends to make an already slow process even slower. It can take months, even years, for a construction lawsuit to make it to trial following the traditional litigation path, and the longer it takes to litigate a case, the more it will typically cost the parties in legal fees and expenses.
Mediation, on the other hand, offers an opportunity to resolve a construction dispute without the time, expense, and delays involved in litigation. A neutral third-party mediator, agreed upon by all parties, brings the parties together outside the courtroom to try and resolve the dispute. Unlike other forms of alternative dispute resolution (such as arbitration), a mediator does not decide issues in dispute. Instead, a mediator facilitates reaching a resolution that is agreeable to all parties. If issues remain in dispute after mediation the parties may continue to pursue traditional litigation.
Why Choose Mediation in a Construction Dispute
Many courts now order mediation in a civil lawsuit; however, in the absence of a court order there are several reasons to voluntarily agree to mediation in a construction dispute, including:
- Time. Congested court calendars frequently mean a construction lawsuit will move at a snail’s pace through the legal system. Getting a construction dispute resolved through mediation often saves valuable time and prevents further delays.
- Cost. Litigating a construction dispute is costly given its inherently complex nature. The cost of mediation is shared by all parties, making it a cost-effective alternative. Even if the entire dispute is not resolved through mediation, reaching an agreement on some aspects of the dispute can save on legal fees and costs.
- Control. In a traditional lawsuit, the parties have no control over who decides the outcome. It is also a “winner take all” gamble. With mediation, the parties do have input into who acts as the mediator and also have considerable flexibility when it comes to crafting a resolution that is acceptable to everyone involved.
Consult the Tampa Bay Construction Mediation Attorneys at Lieser Skaff Alexander
If your business is involved in a construction dispute it is in your best interest to consider mediation as an alternative way to resolve the dispute. Our experienced construction mediation attorneys have the experience and skills needed to mediate your dispute and help you achieve a resolution without the time and cost associated with traditional litigation.