Mediation in construction disputes in England
Purpose: Adjudication was introduced to the English construction industry in 1996 in response to its litigious nature. At the time, adjudication aimed to provide a time-efficient, cost-effective solution to construction disputes. The industry is concerned that adjudication is not always providing the expected benefits due to increasing cost, the length of time it takes to resolve disputes and the difficulty in maintaining good relationships between the parties in dispute. Mediation is recommended here as a most desirable approach to resolving disputes without affecting the relationship between the parties. However, the benefits of mediation have not been fully appreciated by all due to slow uptake. This paper aims to identify barriers to the greater use of meditation the English construction industry. Design/methodology/approach: This paper presents results from a study that investigated issues preventing greater use of mediation. The study involved 20 case studies of previous dispute resolutions, ten in-depth interviews and 357 usable responses to a structured questionnaire survey involving the English construction industry. Findings: The research found a limited detailed awareness of mediation within the English construction industry due to a lack of detailed knowledge among industry stakeholders and a lack of emphasis from construction contracts. The study revealed that there is strong support for adjudication; however, the majority of those with experience of adjudication would prefer to use mediation as the first step in resolving disputes. Originality/value: This research identifies the support required for mediation and its preference among those with and without prior knowledge of both adjudication and mediation for the English construction industry. The paper provides an insight into barriers that need to be addressed to increase use of mediation.