Top 6 Ways Owners And Contractors Can Help Resolve Disputes

Resolving frustrating construction disputes between owners and contractors can be a challenge. Whether you’re an owner or contractor, having the necessary communication skills is key to resolving conflicts quickly and effectively.

Takeoffsconstruction discuss five strategies that both parties can use to help resolve disagreements on the job site in a constructive manner. Learning how to handle these types of problems productively not only helps maintain good relationships with your clients but also prevents costly delays in work completion.

So if you’re interested in finding out more about where to begin when it comes to managing contractual arguments, then read on!

1. Negotiation:

Negotiation is the process of attempting to come up with a mutually agreeable solution to a dispute. By engaging in an open dialogue between the two parties, all sides can make their best case and work towards finding a resolution that satisfies both parties.

Owners should take the initiative to ensure that proper communication channels are established and maintained throughout the negotiation process. They should also be prepared to offer concessions and compromise where necessary if it helps move negotiations forward. 

Similarly, contractors should keep an open mind when discussing possible solutions and be willing to make reasonable compromises in order for negotiations to reach a successful conclusion. With effective communication, both parties can negotiate from positions of strength and arrive at win-win solutions that address all concerns fairly and equitably.

2. Creating an Internal Conflict Resolution Procedure

Internal management processes are the best barrier to construction conflicts: this necessitates precise preparation of the procedures and activities to be taken to avoid or rapidly identify and manage disputes.

This necessitates the implementation of various extra project management processes.

  • The customer must be able to get the necessary information in order to follow conflicts or potential claims and make timely choices.
  • Specific tools, such as estimates and schedule modeling, must be used to screen each claim.
  • The impact on costs and delays must be determined, and an opinion on the acceptability of the claim in terms of damages and culpability must be provided.

Project management methods, particularly those dealing with deadlines, contract changes, and risks, are so critical. It is critical to devote time and money to these processes in order for them to be efficient and rigorous.

3. Arbitration 

Arbitration is a method of dispute resolution that can be used to help resolve disagreements between owners and contractors. This process involves the appointment of an arbitrator, who will listen to both parties and arrive at a decision on how the dispute should be resolved.

In arbitration, both parties agree in advance to accept the final decision made by the appointed arbitrator, regardless of whether it is in favor of one party or the other. The advantage of using arbitration as a dispute resolution tool is that it allows both sides to avoid lengthy court proceedings, and reach a solution more quickly and cost-effectively than litigation.

Additionally, arbitration decisions are legally binding so all parties involved must abide by the outcome set forth by the arbitrator.

4. Mediation:

Mediation is another approach to resolving disputes between owners and contractors. In mediation, a professionally trained and neutral third-party mediator works with both parties, helping them reach an agreement on the dispute.

A successful outcome in mediation can often be reached more quickly than through traditional court-based litigation. Mediation also offers some flexibility in terms of the process, allowing for a creative approach to problem-solving. When working with experienced mediators, they may even provide additional ideas or solutions that can help resolve the dispute in an amicable way.

Finally, if the parties still cannot come to an agreement after taking part in mediation, it does not mean that they are stuck; they still have other options available such as binding arbitration or litigation. All things considered, mediation can be a great way for owners and contractors to quickly and efficiently resolve disputes.

5. Keep Proper Documentation:

Almost every project issue is settled using the documentation that supports or refutes the assertion.  Owners, contractors, and subcontractors must all keep detailed records throughout the duration of the project.

This comprises bidding phase material, all contract documents, baseline documentation, project communication, and data on how the job was developed. This data would include weather, daily operations, material delivery, labor on the job site, equipment, and other pertinent information. 

Each entity should keep its own documentation rather than relying on the other to do so for the firm. Allowing another entity to hold this documentation for the corporation puts it in jeopardy if the relationship fails.

6. Litigation:

One of the most effective ways for owners and contractors to resolve disputes is through litigation. Litigation is a process that takes place in court, with both parties presenting their evidence before a judge or jury.

During this process, it is important for each side to be aware of the legal requirements of the case and to ensure that all information is properly presented. In addition, an experienced lawyer can help guide both parties toward a successful resolution by providing guidance on how best to present their case and by helping them seek justice within the confines of the law.

Through litigation, owners and contractors can settle their disputes in a timely manner while protecting their rights in the process. This method also allows for flexibility when it comes to finding solutions since both sides must come to an agreement in order to move forward. Moreover, the result of litigation is often legally binding, so both parties are bound by the terms of the resolution.


There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to resolving construction disputes. Every situation is unique and requires its own unique solution. However, the tips presented above can help owners and contractors come to an agreement swiftly and efficiently. By following these guidelines, contractors, and owners can look forward to a future of fair, successful, and conflict-free projects. Keep in mind these top five ways owners and contractors can help resolve disputes to work towards a successful project completion together!

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