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Dispute resolution amongst owners, contractors, and subcontractors commonly arise on construction projects. However, there are several fundamental measures that each party can adopt to aid in resolving these disputes before they escalate into formal claims and end up in court or arbitration.

What is the resolution process for construction disputes?

Construction dispute resolution refers to the methods employed to address and settle conflicts that arise within a construction project involving various stakeholders, such as property owners, suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors.

Common causes of disputes in the construction industry

The most frequent causes of construction dispute resolution include:

  1. Construction defects, quality issues, variations from the original contractual scope, and cost increases: Defects and quality problems are significant factors in many construction dispute resolutions. They can encompass issues related to subpar workmanship, the use of inferior materials, failure to comply with specific contractual obligations, and instances where project managers or funders are not informed about price increases for materials or labor.
  2. Delays and disruptions: Delays are a common issue in the construction industry and can occur due to various reasons. These may include unscheduled project overruns, delays in project completion, changes made to the project midway, and their impact on the project timeline. Many standard construction contracts include provisions for liquidated damages as a result of any delays. It is crucial to understand how such damages operate and how they may affect the overall contractual payments.
  3. Payment disputes: Non-payment for materials and labor is a widespread cause of conflicts across all sectors, particularly in the construction industry. Dispute resolution often revolves around unpaid invoices, applications for payment, and claims for additional compensation.
Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution

How to Prevent Construction Disputes

Implementing certain essential processes can minimize the occurrence of disputes if your business operates in the construction industry. Here are some valuable suggestions that, if adopted, can significantly increase the likelihood of avoiding conflicts:

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Thorough Contract Drafting

Having clear, well-drafted, and enforceable contracts from the very beginning is crucial and cannot be emphasized enough. Familiarizing yourself with the contract and understanding the steps it outlines in case of problems can prove beneficial. It is essential to know the specified method or methods of dispute resolution mentioned in the contract. While standard form contracts can be helpful, it is important to comprehend their provisions and how they function. Even though disputes may not be anticipated when entering into a contract, it is advisable to ensure that the contract considers all practicalities of resolving any dispute resolution while aligning with commercial objectives.

Effective Project Planning and Documentation

Having a dedicated project manager or capable individuals responsible for administering the contract can be invaluable. It streamlines project management, enhances overall efficiency, and saves valuable time and resources for other staff members, ranging from company directors to those directly involved in the project, in the event of a dispute. While this may involve additional costs for contract administration, it can ultimately be a worthwhile investment to ensure the smooth execution of the contract.

Effective Project Planning and Documentation
Effective Project Planning and Documentation

Conducting Due Diligence Checks

The significance of conducting thorough due diligence checks before engaging and contracting with another party cannot be underestimated. These checks can unveil crucial information, such as the other party’s financial challenges that might affect their ability to pay for labor or materials. They can also shed light on their reputation and reliability, helping you make informed decisions.

Top 3 methods for owners and contractors to assist in dispute resolution

Familiarize Yourself with and Adhere to the Contract

It is astonishing how many individuals are not well-versed in the crucial details of the project contract. Owners, contractors, and subcontractors must thoroughly review the contract, clearly delineating their respective responsibilities on the project, as well as the obligations of the other party. For owners, this may entail providing access, reviewing and approving information, responding to inquiries, and more. For contractors and subcontractors, this may involve how they execute their work, manage scheduling and reporting activities, handle change processes, issue notices, oversee quality and safety, and fulfill other requirements. Each party should ensure that they are aware of these obligations and make efforts to fulfill them throughout the duration of the project.

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Maintain Proper Documentation

Nearly every project dispute is resolved based on the documentation that supports or disproves the claim. Owners, contractors, and subcontractors all need to maintain comprehensive documentation throughout the project’s lifespan. This includes documentation from the bidding phase, all contract-related documents, baseline documentation, communication during the project, and data on the progress of the work. Such data may encompass weather conditions, daily activities performed, material deliveries, on-site labor, equipment used, and other pertinent information. Each entity should maintain its own documentation and should not rely on the other party to handle it on behalf of the company. Entrusting the other party with the responsibility of maintaining such documentation places it at risk in case the relationship sours.

Maintain Proper Documentation
Maintain Proper Documentation

Promptly address issues

Although there is always a strong inclination to complete the project first and deal with issues later, addressing them in a timely manner can assist in their resolution. While individuals may believe they will remember all the details, the reality is different. Memories fade, and personnel turnover occurs. Once the project is finished and parties attempt to resolve the issues, key individuals may no longer be available to recall the specifics of what actually transpired. Allocating additional resources to address the issues while the project is still ongoing may be necessary, but it is the most effective way to resolve disputes without resorting to formal claims.

While these actions may appear evident, it is astonishing how frequently disputing parties neglect to implement them during the course of a project. At the project’s outset, everyone is focused on completing the work and attending to immediate priorities. However, investing effort in these actions will yield long-term benefits, ensuring the project remains on track and is completed without significant claims.

Enhance Project Success with Expert Construction Management Services from Asia Pacific Projects

When it comes to successful project execution in the construction industry, having a reliable and experienced construction management partner is crucial. Asia Pacific Projects is a leading company that specializes in providing comprehensive construction management services, ensuring smooth project delivery and minimizing dispute resolution. With a deep understanding of the industry and a commitment to excellence, we offer a wide range of solutions to meet the diverse needs of owners, contractors, and subcontractors.

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Our construction management services encompass a wide range of areas, including project controls, project planning, cost analysis, schedule development and oversight, claims management, and more. We work closely with our clients to understand their specific project requirements, tailoring our services to align with their goals and objectives. With a team of highly skilled professionals, we bring extensive industry knowledge and practical experience to every project we undertake.

One of the key strengths of Asia Pacific Projects is our emphasis on maintaining meticulous documentation throughout the project lifecycle. We understand that comprehensive documentation is vital in resolving disputes, and we ensure that all relevant information, including contract documents, communication records, and progress reports, is captured and preserved. By doing so, we provide our clients with a solid foundation of evidence to support their positions, should any disputes arise.

Furthermore, Asia Pacific Projects believes in addressing issues in a timely manner to prevent them from snowballing into major conflicts. We recognize the importance of open and transparent communication, actively engaging with project stakeholders to identify and resolve potential issues before they escalate. By promoting a collaborative environment and fostering proactive problem-solving, we aim to create a project atmosphere that encourages mutual understanding and cooperation.

With our commitment to excellence, attention to detail, and client-centric approach, Asia Pacific Projects has established a reputation as a trusted partner for construction management services. Whether you are an owner, contractor, or subcontractor, partnering with Asia Pacific Projects will enable you to navigate the complexities of the construction industry with confidence, ensuring successful project outcomes and minimizing dispute resolution.


Please send information or requests that you need to consult for Asia Pacific Projects via:

NGUYEN THI HIEU | Local Relations

Mobile phone: +84 918 331 489

Email: hieu.nguyen@appmvn.com

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