If a legal situation arises between you and another party on a construction project, you may have to go through litigation and have a judge decide your case. However, you may be able to choose an alternative dispute resolution method, instead. ADR may be the best way to handle construction disputes as it often takes less time and less money than going to court.

IRMI explains there are a few ADR options from which to choose, with mediation and arbitration being the most common. In mediation, the outcome is not legally binding, so you and the other party both must agree on the final decision. In arbitration, you receive a ruling on the case similar to a court order. When choosing ADR, go into it ready to settle your dispute.

Understand the processes

Mediation is more informal than arbitration. You and the other party discuss matters and have ongoing negotiations. Before you begin, identify the results you want and work towards that throughout the process.

Arbitration is similar to a court trial, with all the involved parties presenting their cases and allowing the arbitrator to determine the outcome. Focus on building your case and gathering evidence to present, just as you would prepare for litigation.

Explore the options

Which type of ADR will work best in your situation? It depends on whether you need a formal approach or you can work with the other party through mediation. Consider what went wrong and the remedies you are willing to accept.

Check your contract to find out whether ADR is an option. There may be a clause that stipulates whether you can use ADR, or it may even stipulate that you must use mediation or arbitration, in which case, you may not have a choice. If there is a clause that says you must go through litigation, ADR would be off the table.