Dispute resolution

The annual Arcadis Global Construction Disputes report highlights the need to adhere to contractual processes and behave better. In short, be nice. Pursue best practice, build well, pay people on time. You won’t get sued

Are we arguing less about construction? Everyone will have their own perspective on this. The gut feeling is that our industry is more adversarial than ever and too fragmented. But the latest annual report from Arcadis examining disputes across the world of construction gives a slightly more positive report.

Globally, the average value of contract disputes and length of resolutions in the construction and engineering sectors decreased slightly from 2019. However, consensus was that the overall number of disputes increased.  In the short-term, collaboration will play a vital role in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s report recognizes the industry’s future uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the unique challenges that will be posed when project restart.

There are some consistent messages and they echo the values of Constructing Excellence in Wales and Rethinking Construction principles. Long-term, adopting collaborative ways of working can help project participants successfully avoid, mitigate, and resolve disputes. In fact, over the past ten years that Arcadis has gathered insights and captured dispute trends, many of the leading causes of disputes still revolve around the parties’ failure to understand their contractual obligations related to contract administration.

It comes down to one thing: behaviours. And where do behaviours stem from? Specific entrenched mindsets. So, that’s a key thing to change as part of our challenge to rethink our industry.