There may be commercial realms more diffuse and complex than the construction industry.
But that is debatable.
Indeed, the vast and varied American construction sphere certainly qualifies as a top entrant on any list of business categories spotlighted by sheer scope and variance.
Take its principal actors, for starters. It is more commonplace than a rarity for many construction projects to feature multiple participants with broad-based interests.
Here is just a partial list of those individuals and entities: owners, buyers, developers, investors, lenders, sureties, insurers, designers, architects, engineers and suppliers.
And, of course, construction firms, contractors and sub-contractors are deeply involved at every level of a project.
In tandem with such diversity is the broad span of project types that are routinely focused upon in Michigan and across the country. Those range across building, industrial and infrastructure construction of almost limitless possibility.
Is it any wonder that the industry sometimes features conflict, with legal challenges and disputes arising among project participants across a virtual sea of possibilities?
Common touchpoints in construction disputes
An authoritative Michigan legal source addressing construction industry disputes cites myriad causes of project discord. Those often include matters like these:
- Project plan flaws/defects
- Missed key deadlines; work delays
- Concealed site conditions that prove problematic
- Payment issues
- Insurance disputes
- Contractual disagreement
- Quality issues surrounding workmanship and materials
Is there an optimal venue/process for resolving project conflict?
There is no firm and unequivocal response to the above header query. Every construction dispute involves a unique set of challenges, making for great variance in the selection of a dispute resolution strategy.
Having said that, though, this too must be mentioned: Project participants often opt to pursue a solution to the conflict that is guided by a mediated or arbitrated process in lieu of adversarial litigation overseen by a court. Indeed, construction conflicts often mandate a so-called “alternative dispute resolution,” at least as the first means for resolving a dispute.
The cited upsides of an ADR process are many, including these:
- Heightened efficiency when compared to court litigation
- Often a materially cheaper strategy to pursue
- A clear benefit of having mediators or arbitrators commanding specialized industry acumen
- Participants’ enhanced autonomy regarding key matters like input and timing
And there is this too: Parties can ensure that a litigation route continues to exist in the event that an ADR strategy doesn’t optimally avail.
Construction principals seeking information on conflict resolution strategies can turn for candid guidance and diligent representation to a legal team with proven client advocacy in both alternative dispute resolution processes and litigation.