Alternative dispute resolution for construction claims

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Construction Law |

ADR is an abbreviation for “alternative dispute resolution”. In many different types of cases, Floridians can use ADR to resolve legal issues that would otherwise require court litigation.

Those in the construction industry frequently use ADR to resolve a wide range of legal disputes between contractors, subcontractors, project owners and others.

There are different types of alternative dispute resolution which are common in the construction industry.

Arbitration allows those in a dispute to choose their decision-makers

In an arbitration, those involved in a construction dispute will submit their claims to either a single neutral expert of their choosing, called an arbitrator, or a panel of experts.

The arbitrator will usually have knowledge of both the construction industry and the Florida laws governing it.

Arbitrations are more informal than court cases, so parties must worry less about procedural rules and rules of evidence. The arbitrator’s decision can be either non-binding or legally binding. If the decision is binding, the parties must follow it subject to some narrow exceptions.

Mediation can help parties in a construction dispute negotiate a resolution

Unlike arbitrators, a mediator who conducts a mediation between those in a construction dispute does not make decisions. Instead, the mediator works with all sides to help them negotiate a resolution to a legal problem.

Like arbitrators, mediators typically have knowledge of both the law and the details of how the construction industry works.

Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process. If a party no longer wishes to mediate, they can simply cut off negotiation and move forward with their case.  They do not have to worry about their negotiations later being used against them in court.

Project neutrals can help parties resolve disputes before they explode

Sometimes, parties involved in a construction project will agree to use a person called a project neutral.

They can choose to use the neutral as simply the source of an unbiased opinion on a construction issue, or they can give them authority to mediate or even decide certain disputes.

In a larger project, a project neutral can be very useful in making sure the overall project stays on track by helping parties quickly resolve emerging problems.

The project neutral is also expected to know the details of the specific project so they can tailor their advice to the circumstances.

Both when negotiating a construction contract and at the onset of a potential legal dispute, those involved in a Palm Beach County building project should be aware of their legal options.