AAA Construction Rules Updated - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 64, No. 4
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
Q: What was the process for updating the Construction Industry Arbitration Rules?
The AAA has been dedicated to the construction industry for a long time. In 1968 we formed the National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee (NCDRC). One of its key roles has been to serve as a guide and a sounding board whenever we undertake a rules revision. A working group from the NCDRC started off the process by making some recommendations for updates. Next, we polled our case managers who work daily with our construction customers and arbitrators for their feedback on what works well and what could use some help. We then fanned out and conducted focus groups in six markets around the country. Our executive staff is also in constant contact with users of construction dispute resolution services. The information gleaned from meetings with existing and potential customers as well as our attendance at trade shows and professional conferences was also used in developing the changes. At various points throughout the process we sought guidance from NCDRC members as well as members of our board of directors. This was a very inclusive process.
Drafting rules is quite a challenge. There are many constituencies who, like parties to a dispute, have very different views of what is “right.” We also paused periodically to review the purpose of a rule as opposed to topics or practices that are better addressed through education. Before we get into the meat of the changes, I would like to pause and thank the many people who contributed to these changes. Even if a specific suggestion was not ultimately used, the suggestion itself helped shape the thought process, analysis and drafting that made this process come together.