Choosing to go with construction mediation over litigation can save you both time and money. Mediation is essentially an informal type of conflict-resolution process that is done behind closed doors, rather than through the court. Mediation gives parties involved a chance to discuss their issues openly through a third-party spokesman, known as the mediator. This process is voluntary however, and if any time one party doesn’t want to continue, it will essentially be called off.
The mediator does not have the authority to make a binding decision unless both parties formally agree to give that power to him. Now, there are many significant advantages to choosing mediation over litigation. Here are some of the more common ones.
Fast and Efficient
Mediation typically takes days to weeks, rather than months – unless the case is more complex. When it comes to construction delay claims, both parties don’t want to draw it out even longer than it should be, especially when the current construction project is already taking longer than it should.
Compared to a traditional lawsuit, mediation is less expensive. When you employ a mediator, they tend to be demand less than a lawyer, and with a quicker turnaround than a lawsuit, you’ll pretty much be paying less money over a shorter period of time. For certain disputes, you can even get away with mediators not charging – although the cases have to be within reason.
The process of mediation allows both parties to vent their frustrations and come to a mutual conclusion that will benefit both of them. Remember, the mediator’s job is to consider the facts, rather than taking a side. And, because the mediator deals with the parties directly, the mediator can also focus more on the party’s needs rather than what their stated positions on. This is extremely important, as there is a less systematic approach and more of a freedom-to-speech feel.
No Bridges Burnt
One of the most beneficial things about mediation, especially in the construction industry, is the fact that relationships are often preserved, rather than destroyed through years of clashing in court. Then, once the settlement has been complete, all party’s can return to their assigned posts and continue to work with each other as they expressed their concerns through mediation. Additionally, this could help increase production, raise efficiency, and promote camaraderie.
Lyle Charles is the head of Lyle Charles Consulting, a construction firm that has over 40 years of experience.