Some years ago when partnering burst upon the construction scene, it was heralded as a miracle cure for dispute-plagued construction projects. Among other benefits, it was claimed that partnering would avoid litigation, control costs, facilitate on-time completion, improve functional and aesthetic quality and create a cooperative and safe working environment.
Not surprisingly, partnering has become very popular in certain branches of the construction industry, particularly on larger and more complex projects. The process has succeeded in opening lines of communication and enriching the quantity and quality of communication between parties to the construction process. In this respect, it has certainly helped avoid disputes.
II. Critic’s Views
But even if partnering’s achievements have been substantial, the process has not been a uniform success. It is not uncommon to hear criticism of partnering in interviews with veterans of the process. “The other side did not seriously participate in the spirit of the sessions.” “There was no meaningful follow up.” “The people who should have been there weren’t.” “The partnering sessions were simply job-site meetings which did not change the attitude of the parties.” “There was no real commitment to the concept.” These and similar statements reflect