William A. Blancato is general counsel at John S. Clark Company, llc, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. C. Allen Gibson Jr. is a partner in Buist Moore Smythe McGee P.A. in Charleston. This article was presented at the American Arbitration Association Construction Conference, “making ADR work for you and your projects,” held at the association of the Bar of the City of New York on May 30, 2008.
Businesses always want to control their own destiny. However, external forces may drastically alter a company’s preconceived plan. Despite the intensive planning and vast resources that must come together in order to complete a project, construction businesses are particularly vulnerable to numerous circumstances that can affect their efforts to finish a project on time and within budget. Prudent owners, developers, contractors and subcontractors attempt to identify all of the potentially disruptive forces that could hinder timely completion and plan accordingly. Adequate preparation and pre-prepared business strategies will help them weather both anticipated and unexpected outside influences. Nevertheless, disputes are almost inevitable.
Mediating construction disputes that project personnel cannot resolve themselves provides project owners, operators, developers, contractors and subcontractors with the opportunity to direct their own future at the least cost.