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When should you use mediation for a construction dispute?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Construction Law

Construction disputes can be costly and lead to significant delays. The longer it takes to hash out these issues, the more you and the other party might lose out. In many instances all parties just want to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. In those circumstances, full-blown litigation might not be your best option, as it could take months to get in front of a judge and secure a judgment. This is where mediation can prove especially beneficial.

As you probably know, mediation relies on a neutral third party who seeks to address the issues at hand by assisting the parties in finding common ground and a mutually agreeable resolution. The process can be relatively quick, cheap, and favorable depending on the facts of your case, but mediation isn’t right for every situation. So, how do you know if mediating your construction dispute is your best option?

When mediation is a viable option for a construction dispute

Mediation can be an effective tool for resolving disputes. Here are some circumstances that may lend themselves to mediation being a viable option for resolving the dispute at hand:

  • You have to continue working with the other party: Many construction projects take months or even years to complete. That fact, in conjunction with existing contractual requirements, means that you’ll have to continue to work with the other party for a significant time. If you take the issue through litigation, then you can face ongoing conflict throughout the course of the project, which can lead to even more delays, more costs, more headaches, and maybe even damage to your company’s reputation. If you use mediation, on the other hand, you can salvage your working relationship and put the construction dispute behind you more quickly.
  • You want quick resolution: As mentioned above, litigation can take months or sometimes even years to complete. Mediation, on the other hand, can be wrapped up in a matter of days, sometimes in a single day. So, if you want to get the issue out of the way as quickly as possible, then mediation might be your best option.
  • Your dispute is complex: Construction disputes are notoriously complicated. So much so that the judge that you end up litigating your case in front of may not understand all the nuances. You don’t want the outcome of your case to fall into the hands of someone who may not understand the intricate details of your dispute. By utilizing mediation, though, you can retain some control over the outcome of your dispute while working with individuals who have the time to more fully understand the circumstances in play.
  • You want to maintain confidentiality: Litigating your case in court makes any issues a matter of public record. You might not want your business to become known for those issues, though, which is where a confidential mediation may prove beneficial.
  • Your contract calls for it: Be sure to look over your contractual responsibilities. There may be a provision in there that mandates mediation before any other legal action is taken. You don’t want to jump the gun and wind up in breach of your contract.

Competently handle your construction dispute

A mishandled construction dispute can cost you time, money, and reputational goodwill. You can’t afford that. So, if you want to protect your interests as fully as possible, then think through an effective strategy for resolving your dispute.