Michael J. Bayard, a full-time construction mediator and arbitrator for the last 10 years and a former construction lawyer, serves on the American Arbitration Association’s construction panel. He has also served as a trainer at AAA education programs on construction ADR. Mr. Bayard has taught construction management for nearly 20 years. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Hard-earned lessons from a full-time construction neutral.
Large, complex construction cases are the “major leagues” of construction ADR. Whether they involve traditional construction claims or construction defect claims, or a combination of the two, these cases are often challenging to mediate. With many participants involved in the dispute, there are daunting communications problems that the mediator must solve. Also, there is always the challenge of identifying one or more logical approaches to settling the case. This is not work for novice mediators. Mediators of large, complex construction cases should be good, even great, at what they do. Getting to that point requires at a minimum, mastery of the fundamentals of mediating and knowledge of advanced techniques. Every mediator of large, complex cases has his or her own list of key fundamentals. I offer my list in this article to help novice mediators and those new to the large complex case to meet the challenges facing them.