Durability + Design
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site


D+D News

Main News Page

Study Finds Costs, Causes of Disputes

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

More items for Good Technical Practice

Comment | More

Construction disputes in North America are taking less time and money to resolve, a new study suggests.

The report, “Global Construction Disputes Report 2016: Don’t Get Left Behind,” is the sixth annual study into worldwide construction disputes by Arcadis, a built asset design and consultancy firm.

“The North American industry has become more sophisticated in recent years, realizing what we have said for a long time—focusing on managing risk and early intervention will help reduce the number and cost of disputes,” said John Jastrem, chief executive officer of Arcadis North America.

global report
Images: Arcadis

Research for the report was based on disputes Arcadis handled during 2015. Markets included in the report are North America, the U.K., Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Disputes relating to major construction projects in North America dropped in value to an average of $25 million in 2015, from $29.6 million seen in 2014.

The average length of time it took to resolve disputes decreased to 13.5 months in 2015 from 16.2 months the prior year, according to the study.

A Downside

“This trend is good news for the U.S. and Canada, but there is one downside,” warned Roy Cooper, vice president, Arcadis North America.

“Even though more disputes are being settled early, the ones that remain grow into complicated, emotional affairs, with large damages at stake. These also take longer to resolve, since U.S. courts hate to try construction cases due to their large volumes of documents and greater complexity.”

Around the Globe

Globally, construction disputes underway in 2015 averaged more than 15 months, up from 13.2 months in 2014, the report said.

The average value of the disputes in 2015 decreased to $46 million from $51 million in 2014.


Research for the report was conducted by Arcadis Construction Claims Consulting experts and based on disputes the team handled during 2015. Markets included in the report are North America, the U.K., Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

The trends varied by region.

The Middle East saw an increase in value, overtaking Asia as the region with the highest valued disputes in 2015, with an average of $82 million. The UK, Asia, and Europe joined North America in a decrease in dispute costs.

Top Five Causes

Globally, the most common cause of dispute is a failure to properly administer the contract. Poorly drafted or incomplete and unsubstantiated claims ranked second. Errors and/or omissions in the contract document came in third.


The fourth most common cause was incomplete design information or employer requirements. Rounding out the top five was the failing to understand and/or comply with contractual obligations on the part of the employer, contractor or subcontractor, according to the report.

The study found that joint ventures were found to be at particular risk, with 25.5 percent of JVs ending in dispute.

Resolving Methods, Other Findings

The report also found that party-to-party negotiation was the most common method of dispute resolution, followed by mediation and arbitration.

The property/real estate sector had the most disputes globally in 2015, followed by social infrastructure and the public sector.

In North America, Arcadis noted it sees more disputes in the transportation, water and wastewater sectors.

The full report is available here.


Tagged categories: Business matters; Construction; Contractors; Disputes; Market; Trends

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Shield Industries, Inc
FireGuard® E-84 Intumescent Coating - Shield Industries, Inc
Trust the certified protection of the industry’s most innovative intumescent coating FireGuard® E-84 to provide you with the 1 and 2 hour fire ratings you need.

Novatek Corporation
Novatek Portable Air Filtration Systems
Air Scrubbers/Negative Air machines for restoration, abatement, dust & odor control, hazardous contaminant removal from job sites to clean rooms and hospitals. Portable, affordable!

Keim Mineral Coatings
Mineral Silicate Paints + Stains Fuse to Concrete
• Forms permanent chemical bonds
• Becomes part of the concrete
• Will never peel
• Looks completely natural


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@durabilityanddesign.com

The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker


© Copyright 2012-2018, Technology Publishing Co., All rights reserved