You do your best to avoid disputes during the construction process, but inevitably some will arise. Before heading into the courtroom to litigate, construction mediation is an option you should consider.
Alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and arbitration, are becoming increasingly popular methods to resolve many different types of disputes, including construction disputes.
Mediation has several benefits. You will likely save time and money and be happier with the outcome. Mediation is also a better option if you wish to preserve your business relationships.
The mediator’s role
A mediator is a neutral third party who listens to the issues and arguments of both sides, asks questions and offers suggestions for resolution.
A mediator does not take sides and cannot force one side into an agreement. Unlike a judge, a mediator has no power to decide an outcome.
Given the benefits, it is usually in your best interest to try mediation. Part of the mediation preparation process involves choosing a mediator. You should look for a mediator with positive qualities such as fairness, good listening skills and the ability to be impartial.
Additionally, it is important to find a mediator with experience in the construction industry, so they will be familiar with the issues that are in dispute.
Know your issues and goals
Prior to mediation, outline the specific issues and your proposed resolution. It might help to put these into a written list. Write down the strengths and weaknesses of your position and what type of outcome you hope to achieve.
At the mediation, put in a good faith effort to resolve your dispute. Act respectfully toward the other side and the mediator. Be a good listener. Do not make your arguments without being willing to listen to and consider the other side’s arguments, as well.
Be flexible. A solution that is in everyone’s best interest usually involves some compromise. Keeping these tips in mind can increase your chance of success at mediation.