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Building Construction
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Meet the Mediators


Mediation is a process used to resolve disputes. A mediator brings parties together to assist them in developing their own solution. It allows the parties to maintain control of their dispute and determine their own agreements. It often is a faster and less expensive way to address differences.

Mediators are neutral, unbiased third parties who facilitate negotiations. They have no interest in the outcome of the conflict.






  Building Construction Issues

These are some of the reason for disputes which frequently occur in construction projects:

  • The owner who wanted to change things, with or without a “change order” as the project was being built, but then doesn’t want to pay the price charged after the changes are done;
  • The Architect who designs a project which gets changed by others during construction, with or without his knowledge, and is blamed for the problems when the project is not the same as the original drawings;
  • The contractor who met all the standards of the industry, but the owner is demanding far more and produces a list of imperfect or shoddy work;
  • The subcontractor who is, many times at the mercy of other contractors and experiences delays by others contractor’s increasing his costs, but ends up with back charges of one sort or another that cancel out its payments due;
  • The contractor who promises to deliver a project at a stated due date for which the contractor is to be rewarded with an incentive payment, but the owner decides to renege on that promises

The character of these disputes, especially on larger commercial and industrial projects, makes them expensive and time consuming to litigate.  Juries find them incredibly difficult to understand, because the disputes are often factually complicated, require review of a huge amount of documents, laden with technical issues and fueled by emotions.

When the parties to a contract litigate these disputes, they are likely to spend as much or more money during the intense discovery procedure then they do for the trial. Even when binding arbitration is utilized, similar problems occur.  The answer to these problems is mediation.

Mediation is not new to the construction industry, and is becoming more widely used. Many of the standard industry form agreements require the parties to agree to start with mediation, before they commence any other step whether through binding arbitration or litigation. Many of these agreements disallow either party unwilling to go through the mediation process to collect attorney’s fees and costs, even if that party prevails in litigation.  WE, at Southern California Mediation Partners (SCMP), ask why would any party in a dispute dictated by an agreement to mediate, want to avoid this simple process, and lose the ability to get an award of legal fees and costs, should litigation become necessary. 

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