If you are a homeowner who bought a newly constructed property in a subdivision, only to have the contractor use the wrong materials, the issues with your home might compromise your enjoyment of the property or even its value.

If you are a construction professional, vague requirements and instructions by a client could mean that you and your crew did the best job possible, only for them to come back angry and either refuse to pay or make a claim against you for some kind of perceived failure.

Whether you are someone who works in construction or a property owner, disputes about construction issues can become time-consuming and expensive. Going to court can turn a minor issue into a major expense. The good news is that alternative dispute resolution options can be highly effective at resolving construction disputes. Many construction companies and property owners or investors will find that arbitration or mediation can help them bypass litigation.

Arbitration is almost like going to court

Arbitration involves both you and the other party involved in a construction dispute explaining your side of the issue to a neutral third party who serves as the arbitrator. The arbitrator will carefully consider both perspectives and the practical consequences of the issues that led to the claim and the potential complications with resolving that claim.

Then, much like a judge, the arbitrator can propose a specific solution for the situation at hand. Depending on your circumstances, arbitration can be open-ended, meaning that you don’t have to accept the terms suggested, or binding, meaning you have to abide by the resolution suggested.

Mediation can help you maintain some control over the outcome

Unlike arbitration, mediation involves intentional compromise with both parties working together through the helpful intervention of a mediator. One side could suggest a resolution that seems appropriate to them, and the other side can counter.

The two can then work together to find compromises that resolve the situation satisfactorily for both parties. Provided that you reach an agreement, you can execute an agreement at the end of mediation that will lead to the resolution of the issue. In many cases, even if mediation or arbitration fails, you may still have the option of pursuing a lawsuit.