Construction industry disputes are common and the monetary amounts in dispute are frequently quite high. Additionally, disputes in the construction industry are often quite complex, thus making it difficult to present issues clearly to non-technical triers of fact. Until the late 1980s, the traditional dispute resolution process involved negotiation and some form of administrative appeal, possibly mediation, followed by either arbitration or litigation. This traditional process has, however, proven to be too lengthy and too costly for both parties.
As a result, the construction industry has developed a number alternative means of resolving disputes. ADR has become common in construction. 5 With parallel pioneering efforts of various public agencies and construction trade associations, numerous ADR techniques have been have been developed and implemented. All ADR methods share the same goal – to resolve disputes without resorting to the traditional, time consuming and expensive litigation.
This research perspective identifies and discusses nearly thirty forms of ADR that are being used in the construction industry today. Some examples are merely variations of a common theme, but all are different and all have distinct advantages and disadvantages that should be considered prior to selection. The various forms of ADR are presented in what the authors believe is a logical order following a dispute from the project site to the adjudicative forum.
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