Construction Conflict Management and Resolution

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Composition and Functioning of a DRB The classic Dispute Review Board, as envisioned by the widely-used standard forms developed by the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation, is a neutral body, typically composed of three impartial construction industry professionals who are experienced in the type of construction at issue. Parties contractually agree to use a DRB while negotiating a project agreement, and members of the DRB are then jointly selected by the owner and contractor immediately after contract award.

DRBs are available throughout the project to assist in the prompt resolution of disputes. The DRB is given contract documents and relevant project information at the outset of the project. Single Standing Neutral. In smaller projects, a single individual Standing Neutral can be a substitute for the three-person DRB, and function in exactly the same manner as the classic DRB.

Project Neutral. A single Standing Neutral called a Project Neutral is one of the dispute resolution options that are recognized in the ConsensusDOCS contract forms that were released in Those forms call for a tiered approach to dispute prevention and resolution that starts with direct discussions between the parties at various levels within specified time frames; if the problem is not resolved at that level, the parties can choose to refer it to either a previously-selected single Project Neutral or a DRB. If the parties do not choose to use a Project Neutral or DRB the dispute goes to mediation, and then if mediation fails, to a binding dispute resolution process such as arbitration or litigation.

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Instead of simply continuing to have the architect be the sole authority for making initial decisions, these forms allow the parties to agree to designate a truly independent neutral third-party "Initial Decision Maker" IDM in the contract if they do not wish the architect to serve in that capacity.

If an independent IDM is named in the contract, that person is the person who will, within 10 days make an initial decision on all claims other than a few specifically delineated exceptions, such as aesthetic effect. The initial decision is binding upon the parties subject to either party initiating mediation within a specified time frame , and, if that fails, arbitration or litigation. Standing Arbitrator. A variant of the standing neutral process, useful in a situation where it is important to achieve early decisions that are binding, is to give the neutral the power to render binding decisions, thus acting as an arbitrator.

Because this process shifts control of the dispute to the arbitrator, it has the disadvantage of taking away the ability of the parties to cooperatively work out their own mutual resolution of the dispute. Also, parties faced with the prospect of a binding decision are usually represented by lawyers, tending to add expense, cause delay, and escalate adversarial attitudes.

Standing Mediator.

Is there a relationship between construction conflicts and participants' satisfaction?

Another variant of the standing neutral process is the designation by the parties of a mediator at the commencement of the relationship to assist the parties in negotiations to resolve disputes. Also, since parties involved in mediation are likely to seek the assistance of lawyers, this can add expense and cause delay.

Where are DRBs Used? DRBs are used on construction projects all over the world and their use is growing. Once the province of the underground construction industry, DRBs are now found on all types of construction projects. In the United States, a number of state highway departments use DRBs on all of their substantial projects.

Conflict Management in Nigerian Construction Industry: Project Managers' View

Transit authorities in several major cities specify some form of DRB, and DRBs can be found on significant construction projects such as heavy civil, wastewater, medical, and manufacturing plants, as well as airport, power plant, sports complexes and office building construction, among others.

Single Standing Neutrals are beginning to be used on a number of smaller projects. Abbreviated case studies of DRBs can be found at www. DRB Success Statistics The DRB is generally recognized as one of the most efficient and effective means of preventing and resolving claims and disputes on a construction project.

Supporters of the DRB process point to its near perfect track record of avoiding litigation or arbitration on projects where it is used. They resolved of the disputes and the only one that actually proceeded to litigation and was eventually settled. DRB provisions will address:. A host of sample contract forms are available at www. However, one must exercise great care in using form agreements and terms that may not be suitable for particular projects.

Seek the advice of skilled counsel in drafting DRB agreements and provisions given the complexity and idiosyncratic nature of construction projects and the long-term consequences of contractual agreements. Once a dispute erupts, selection processes may be more contentious. Consequently, parties should seriously consider mechanisms in the project contract that propel member selection in a timely fashion.

Mechanisms that have been used include:. Inform Project Personnel for Buy-In It is also useful to alert project and field personnel about the existence of the DRB agreement and how the DRB operates, to both educate them and get their buy-in to the process when disputes arise.

The three-party agreement will be appended to and made a part of the contract documents. Selecting DRB Members Impartiality and Lack of Conflicts of Interest Selection procedures must assure appointment of a DRB that is completely impartial to provide credibility to their recommendations and party respect and confidence in reports. The success of the DRB process on any given project will turn in large part on the credibility of the Board Members. The importance of a thorough and complete qualification and selection process cannot be overstated. Given the continuing evolution of law regarding disclosure and conflicts of interest in the ADR field, it behooves DRB members, because they are functioning as third-party neutrals, to be scrupulous regarding disclosures of conflicts of interest or potential conflicts.

Disclosures assure party acceptance of recommendations, and are even more critical if DRB recommendations are admissible in any later adjudication proceedings. Because work is competitive it can be hard to create a collaborative environment. Differences and similarities in behavior and work can become flashpoints. Suspicion makes working as a team more difficult. Project managers must know what the issues are in order to fix them. However, one type of conflict is a perception of issues.

A lack of communication is the stem of most problems. They might not communicate in a way that makes sense to the other person. They might have differences in personalities that makes it difficult to work together. Sometimes, a rigid group structure prevents a free flow of ideas and creates issues within group dynamics.


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Just as there are many types of conflict, there are several types of conflict resolution. Some types of conflict resolution are better suited for certain types of conflict. Issues with communication or group dynamics are solved more easily through certain methods than others.

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Construction Conflict Management and Resolution - Google книги

Confrontation is convenient for times when multiple groups of people are finding it difficult to collaborate, but they are willing to learn from each other. However, there must be sufficient time for the project, and people must trust the mediating party. Conflict resolution in project management can benefit from compromise in specific situations. But, he notes,. The legal profession inhabits and dominates these vast swathes of the commercial conflict management landscape and is the primary determinant of its contours. Within these realms lawyers largely control the shape and timing of dispute resolution processes, who gets in, and who runs or facilitates the process usually lawyers ; the shadow of litigation and the litigation model hangs heavy over the scene.

Conflict Resolution Techniques

Collaborative platforms can be found. Some may regard this as a step towards — or perhaps a reflection of — the professionalization of the dispute resolution field. But the consequence is a diminution of party control, a lack of professional diversity, and arbitrations involving parties who are construction professionals, appearing before a tribunal with no construction professional on board — only lawyers.