Construction projects do not always run true to time and within budget. Ambiguities and/or discrepancies in the contract documents, design changes, unexpected ground conditions, defects, delays to the progress of the works and the like may all give rise to differences of opinion - and disputes.
Common methods of dispute resolution include:
- Litigation: judicial resolution in the courts where the case and the judges decision become open knowledge.
- Arbitration: a formal, private process whereby the parties are bound by the decision of a neutral and independent person who is selected by the parties or on the parties' behalf on the basis of the person's expertise, reputation and experience.
- Alternative dispute resolution: a collective term used to describe methods of resolving disputes which are alternatives to litigation and arbitration and which usually offer a less expensive solution. For example:
Mediation: a voluntary, private dispute resolution process in which a neutral person helps the parties to reach a negotiated settlement.
Adjudication: a voluntary, private dispute resolution process in which a neutral person makes a decision, which is binding upon the parties, with the right of appeal in arbitration or in the courts.
If disputes arise, quantity surveyors are able to offer the following expertise and technical knowledge:
- independent appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of an employer's and/or a contractor's case concerning quantum;
- technical advice and assistance throughout the dispute resolution process;
- preparation of particularised documents including technical position papers, assistance with pleadings, further and better particulars and witness statements;
- when suitably experienced, to act as expert witness for quantum or other associated specialist areas.