Advantages of Early Mediation of Construction Defect Claims
- posted: Feb. 28, 2022
- Construction Defects
Construction projects can be thrown off course for any number of reasons, often leading to legal disputes. One driving factor for the proliferation of such disputes is a claim that an aspect of the construction was defective. If this occurs while the project is in progress, it can lead to significant delays and added costs. In addition, construction is full of uncertainties. Unexpected weather, unanticipated labor shortages or even changes in building code requirements can bring projects to a halt.
Early mediation can be an effective method of preventing setbacks and monetary losses in these situations. Construction mediation is a forum for solving disagreements without litigation. The mediator — a neutral party chosen by agreement — guides discussion among the parties in order to achieve an amicable resolution to contested issues. Mediation is less formal than court proceedings and the outcome is not binding. Any party is free to walk away from the mediation at any time. The mediator’s final action is a not a decision but a recommended settlement, which any party can agree to or reject.
It is best to initiate mediation as soon as it becomes apparent that some or all of the players are stuck on a significant issue. In the construction industry, minor problems tend to snowball into large ones if left unresolved. For example, a dispute with a contractor over an alleged defect can cause a work stoppage that can put the entire project behind schedule. That delay might throw off another sub-contractor’s scheduling and cause even longer delays.
While early mediation is not a perfect solution in every case, it can offer several advantages, namely:
- Cost savings — If litigation arises, legal fees and related expenses increase quickly even with relatively straightforward cases. Mediation costs are usually much lower.
- Time — Court cases can easily drag on for months and sometimes years. Mediation can often be accomplished in a matter of weeks.
- Relationships — Mediation can resolve disputes without upsetting contractual relationships. A good mediator will make sure that everyone’s concerns are addressed. This allows projects that have not yet been completed to go forward without replacing key players.
- Creative solutions — Courts are limited in the remedies they can provide. Through mediation, the parties can craft a resolution that works for everyone.
Early mediation of claims can save the parties significant expense while keeping projects on track. Our firm’s construction mediators can serve as the neutral party to help resolve these disagreements. In addition, our firm’s lawyers often represent individual clients in construction mediation cases, helping them achieve successful outcomes.
If you are involved in a California construction defect dispute, Quinn & Kronlund LLP in Stockton can help. Whether acting as a neutral mediator or as counsel in a mediation, we pride ourselves on resolving construction disputes quickly and efficiently. Feel free to contact us online or call [ln::phone] for an initial consultation.