Stakeholders Create Own Blueprint for Effective Dispute Resolution

By: Richard L. Hurford

I was never ruined but twice; once when I lost a lawsuit and once when I won one.


On April 24, 2013, from 7:30 a.m. through 11:45 a.m., owners,contractors and design professionals will have the unique opportunity to engage in a hands-on workshop to explore, develop and share dispute resolution techniques that actually work. Sponsored by the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Committee of the Engineering Society of Detroit, this opportunity will not be the typical theoretical discussion or marketing exercise by lawyers and insurers on what they think “should” or “might” work; rather, this workshop will be a practical discussion of what works and what doesn’t by owners, contractors and design professionals based upon their personal experiences.

Owners, contractor and design professionals have all too often become hostages subject to the whims of dispute resolution systems created and managed by others. The “boilerplate” dispute resolution processes contained in many construction contracts often fail to achieve the essential purpose – the cost effective, efficient, and speedy resolution of construction disputes. These “boilerplate” provisions can become way too cumbersome, not necessarily tailored to resolve the dispute that arises, or contain hidden traps.
Candidly share your experience on whether this breakdown is the result of such “red flags” as:

  • Over lawyering and the failure to “project manage” the attorneys and insurers;
  • A win at all costs philosophy by certain owners, contractors, and design professionals;
  • Questionable contract provisions that fail to allocate “risk” in an appropriate manner among the stakeholders;
  •  Contract provisions that contain unfair, unclear, inappropriate or inequitable dispute resolution provisions;
  • The insurance coverage morass and/or ineffective claim adjusters who needlessly prolong and complicate the resolution of the dispute; and,
  •  Arbitration becoming just as “hellacious” as traditional litigation.

There are many forms of alternative dispute resolution other than arbitration that may have been better, faster, and cheaper in resolving your disputes and help us explore those options. Tell us about your experiences with mediation, early neutral expert evaluations, dispute resolution boards, dispute resolution advisors, “hot-tubbing,” or any of the various mediation-arbitration processes. More importantly than “cursing the darkness,” this seminar will allow participants to identify those dispute avoidance and resolution mechanisms that actually work. To be certain, in addition to your experience, this seminar will also provide you with an opportunity to truly discuss the issues with “thought leaders” in the arena of construction dispute resolution.

To kick of your in-depth discussion of the root causes and solutions to the issues, the following will be discussed:

  • Which dispute resolution mechanisms work and which don’t
  • How is construction ADR integrated with project management and risk analysis?
  • How to put together a construction agreement that clearly address the risks for which each party should be responsible

The ADR Committee of the Engineering Society of Detroit is truly excited about this novel opportunity to share your experience and generate practical, cost effective solutions. In 2011 alone, it has been estimated the direct and indirect costs of construction litigation to owners, contractors and design professional was a staggering $10 billion and the average cost of a construction claim was $10.5 million. Don’t miss this opportunity to take charge of your future. It only takes one dispute to ruin an otherwise profitable year.

There is another plus. Members of the ADR Committee of the Engineering Society of Detroit will facilitate the group discussions and compile a comprehensive white paper of the lessons learned and distribute the white paper to all participants as a valuable resource tool.

Please consider registering for this unique learning and sharing opportunity sponsored by the ADR Committee of the Engineering Society of Detroit. Register online at http://www.esd.orgFor more information please contact Tim Walker at 258-353-0735 ext. 115 or e-mail
It could be the best four hour investment of time you make this year.

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