Construction problems stir up strong reactions because two things are always involved: Money and money. For the Owner and their team of architects and designers, who want the best building for their money and the general contractor and its subcontractors who want to provide the best building delivered timely and within their costs.
In construction mediation can put a cap on both of these often-negative reactions. Mediation soothes everyone’s frazzled nerves because it brings everyone together under the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable neutral who can sort through the various issues and guide both sides to a solution. The privacy and speed of mediation makes the strategy even more attractive, but one of the most compelling aspects is the lower costs.
The Hockey Stick
In litigation it is well known that attorney’s fees, when graphed, resemble a hockey stick: Consistent for a long time, then suddenly shooting upward as the trial date approaches. This ‘hockey stick’ of fees can be an enormous surge in billable hours as the law firm puts more resources into trial prep and discovery.
In construction mediation, however, there is no such surge. Costs are lower to begin with, and can be shared between parties in the interests of keeping the problem being resolved as manageable and as equitable as possible, and mediation is a steady, predictable cost usually limited to the neutral who has been hired. While attorneys can and usually are involved, their hours are usually nowhere near what can happen in a litigation.
The bottom line is, construction mediation is not only faster than litigation, it is usually the most effective tool for keeping costs under control while construction issues are resolved.