Mediation Best Practices for Contractors Part 2
Starting every project with a strong contract drafted by a Birmingham contractor attorney and working with reasonable clients will help you resolve any disagreements quickly. However, some disagreements are not settled so easily, and a mediation may be necessary. This last section will focus on three more tips: having the right representation, being patient and tough, and being creative with your settlement options.
Call on the Right Representation
Often, construction disputes involve various parties. It is common for subcontractors, project schedulers, accountants, managers, and key experts to have valuable information that can help your case. Anticipate who will be called upon to provide information and be sure that those who have the authority to make settlement decisions are present.
Be Patient and Stay Positive
Resolving disputes is all about compromising and finding common ground. During mediation, parties may experience a range of emotions. The process requires patience and a willingness to listen to the other party. It also requires you to have a thick skin. During the process, you may hear things that you do not like or feel are untrue. You may feel insulted as well. It may take longer than anticipated as each party assesses the risks and rewards of a proposed solution. However, you must refuse to be distracted by this and stay focused on the results you want to attain.
Mediation is not always straightforward and may require some creativity to get to a mutually satisfying settlement. It is not uncommon for parties to be shocked by the other party’s settlement numbers. Be prepared to support how you came up with your numbers. If a proposed settlement is not satisfactory, parties should be open to creative ways to settle. For example, offering to accept structured payments, correcting defective work, or performing additional work on other projects, may be acceptable to the other party.
Remember, there is always the potential for an impasse, but both parties must be willing to press beyond this. Once you come to a final settlement, address all necessary factors (i.e., lien or warranty issues), draft a written agreement before declaring the mediation closed, and follow up and debrief.
If you would like to speak with one of our Birmingham contractor attorneys, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.