How Using a Partnering Approach on Construction Projects Leads to Less or No Disputes/Claims

by | Jun 25, 2020

A construction team works together to resolve disputes onsite at a construction project.

Partnering can lead to minimal or no disputes on construction projects. Partnering instills a culture of trust and mutual understanding between both partners and stakeholders. This valuable relationship is, in a lot of cases, more important than the contract.

Risk prevention and mitigation also plays a crucial role in the achievement of little to no disputes/claims on projects. Partnering not only allows for better understanding and subsequent mitigation but also adds a factor of risk prevention. Through partnering, participant teams establish project-specific goals. A charter is created and signed by all the key stakeholders which signifies their commitment to achieving agreed upon project goals in the most efficient and effective ways possible.

Potential risks, concerns, and issues are identified for each of the project goals established during partnering sessions. The team then produces proposed solutions and assign an owner or a champion for each risk. Thus, the team then has a better understanding of the potential risks and can begin to create a mitigation plan through prevention strategies or contingency strategies.

Another effective partnering session practice is the creation of an issue escalation or resolution ladder. This provides an effective plan on how to deal with issues as they arise during the project. The different levels are defined and the relevant team members for each level are assigned. In addition, a time to elevate is also established which allows for an organized timeline and system to elevate issues to the next level if they cannot be resolved.

Partnering requires project teams to handle disputes in a refined manner where there should be no jumping levels of authority up or down. Issues should only be elevated to a higher-level once partners’ can fully describe each other’s position and reasoning. At which point if the issue is still not resolved, they can respectfully agree to disagree and elevate it to the next level. Partners will remain accountable for those specific issues and monitor the outcome to ensure it does not get stuck somewhere or forgotten. Decisions are always made for what is best for the project.

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