Reports from May 2013 suggested that disputes occurring in the building industry are on the rise. In fact, they are on a steep rise – in both the time they take to resolve and the cost incurred due to disputes. The time construction disputes are taking to resolve is now set at over a year. The total cost of building disputes rose by over 100% from £6.6 million 2011 to £17.7 million 2012. Interestingly though this does not mean that more people are heading to the courts to resolve their disputes via traditional litigation. Most building disputes in 2012 were resolved via alternative methods – with adjudication, arbitration and negotiation being the favoured methods of dispute resolution.
But is this really sensible?
Whether you decide to resolve your dispute inside or outside of the courts, tackle it as quickly as you can. If you leave it too late this will simply make the costs of your claim climb rapidly. Also beware of a false economy when it comes to choosing a building dispute resolution method. If you decide to engage in mediation – a technique usually considered cheaper than litigation – too late in the day you will rack up high fees due to the resolution process becoming significantly longer. This will leave you in a position where you would have saved time and money by paying a specialist construction dispute lawyer at the beginning of the dispute to knock it on the head quickly.
Why Have Building Disputes Become Worse?
Firstly, building is far more complicated than it used to be. As the way we construct buildings becomes more complex, when problems appear during building work it can be far more difficult to apportion blame.
Secondly, the economy is not at its strongest. The Financial Times suggest that this is the reason that companies are more commonly becoming involved in construction disputes. Businesses just cannot afford to lose money due to the error of another company. Building disputes can commonly occur over the following:-
– Timeliness of work
– Quality of work
– Breach of contract
When working with contractors, all of these things can directly affect the costs of the build for the involved parties, including the client. On the other hand though, some companies feel they cannot enter into a construction dispute because of lack of funds.
A final, alternative, interpretation of the situation that Roskell Davies would like to offer is that people are so concerned about incurring any costs by engaging in proper building dispute resolution services that they leave tackling the disputes until too late. The best advice when it comes to resolving a dispute it to tackle it as soon as possible. The longer you leave a construction dispute the worse and the more out of control it is likely to get.