How to Resolve a Construction Dispute?
MARK QUINN >
SolicitorTue 5 November 2019
The construction and building industry is an area where disputes are commonplace. As anyone who has ever been involved in a construction project will understand, things rarely go as planned; whether it be delays caused by weather, or unforeseen issues having a knock-on effect with planned timescales, it is unlikely the parties will reach the finish line without a snag.
Often, the contracting parties are able to sit down and reach an agreement to resolve disputes at an early stage. However, it is not uncommon (be it the complexity of the issues in dispute or an unreasonable stance by one or both parties) that it is simply not possible to find an amicable resolution. Where talks break down, the starting point is always the Pre-action Protocol for Construction and Engineering Disputes (“the Construction Protocol”).
The Construction Protocol
The fundamental principles of the Construction Protocol are that the parties must exchange “sufficient information” at an early stage to understand each other’s position and that the parties must make appropriate attempts to resolve the matter without commencing Court proceedings. As is ever the case, litigation ought to be a last resort (Practice Direction – Pre-Action Conduct Para. 8).
Adherence to the Construction Protocol can result in a number of positive effects. By obliging the parties to exchange early information and understand each other’s case, there is every chance of finding an early resolution. The parties are asked to meet formally on at least one occasion, whilst it offers an opportunity to settle the matter “fairly” and “inexpensively”. If the matter ultimately requires litigation, proceedings may be conducted efficiently due to this imposed culture of early disclosure.
Mark Quinn is a dispute resolution solicitor at Taylor Rose TTKW. Should you require further advice on any issues within this article, please do not hesitate to contact him on 01733 865 136 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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