Involved in a Construction Dispute?

Katie Thompson
Last Updated: January 10, 2024

When projects fail, the discussion always come down to who is liable for the construction damages.  Disputes between the contractor and owner during construction projects are often complex and sometimes inevitable especially when preventative measures haven’t taken place.   Here are some of the most common disputes that arise during construction projects.

Unrealistic Expectations

The contractor promises a schedule that is unrealistic.  The project schedule was created to entice the owner to sign the contract.  The project ends up costing way more than anticipated and take months longer to finish because the deliverables are impossible to meet.  All parties end up frustrated because expectations are not being met and then communication starts to break down.

Contract Ambiguities

Seeking clarifications during the bidding stage is key to ensuring all parties are informed and the project scope is nailed down.   When the project scope is incomplete, the end product will be defective and then disagreements arise between parties.    Incorporating the project engineering design and documents into the contract can help prevent future disputes.

Risk Management

A clear description of how risk is going to be managed between the contractor and owner.  A risk management plan will help identify, analyze, estimate and manage risk.    Risk management failures examples may include inaccurate risk metrics.  A practical example would include not forecasting for inclement weather in the construction project. Alberta is known for its inclement weather and it should be factored into your contract. 

Lack of Accountability

Construction projects fail because of unclear roles, responsibilities, limited resources and/or poor strategic planning.  The Project Manager must be accountable and regularly track and measure construction progress and budget.   Some tools include scorecards, metrics, weekly meetings, job descriptions, written procedures and project plans.

Bolson Engineering and Environmental Services offers litigation support services as an expert witness in the public and private sector. With over 35 years of combined experience, we will testify in civil engineering disputes that may include land planning, land surveying, construction defect claims, material defect claims, developer transition and contaminated land disputes. Please contact us to discuss your case.

About the author

With more than 12 years in human resources, Katie brings important process management skills to the table. Her direct experience with senior management in the construction industry helps her understand your engineering project goals. Her creative forward-thinking propels Bolson toward exciting new business opportunities.

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