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Private Mediation: What Construction Contractors Need to Know

You might consider yourself a construction claims expert, but do you know how to avoid taking a case to trial? If you’re not sure what the answer is, you could potentially lose thousands of dollars and untold hours of productivity. Sometimes a claim is not enough, and the other party feels wronged to the point where they need to make an additional claim. Aside from settling for a smaller amount, there is one other tactic that can provide excellent results and help maintain professional relationships.

How Mediation Works

Mediation involves the two parties in dispute, and a neutral third party. Their job is to try and understand the dilemma, and help each party figure out how to reach an agreement that makes everyone happy. Private mediation usually takes just a few days to complete, which is why it’s preferred over trial in most cases. Mediation also does not require an attorney, which helps to cut down on court costs for both parties in the dispute.

Both parties will talk in a room for several hours, making their cases to a neutral third party. That party will ask questions and gain information as needed, but the idea is for this person to work with each party and brainstorm a mutually agreeable solution.

Before Mediation

You should spend your time gathering everything you need to try and prove your case. This would include any paper work you have that helps defend your side of the story. Try not to be nervous, mediation isn’t usually one-sided. You’re bound to come out of the exchange feeling vindicated, but whatever all parties decide is final. Respect any decisions made in mediation.

Bio: Lyle Charles Consulting has handled construction claims and project management for commercial and residential projects. Lyle Charles is an expert witness, with state certification, and has acted as mediator for construction disputes.

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