We understand that disputes will inevitably arise within construction relationships, often due to the complexity of the issues at stake, the strict timings involved in the build process, unforeseen changes to the build during the life of the project and the fine margins that are common within construction projects.
These disputes can often occur despite the best endeavours of the parties involved. In the unfortunate event that such disputes do arise, we will support your business to achieve the most cost-effective and favourable outcome possible, whilst aiming to preserve any ongoing relationship between the contracting parties if circumstances permit.
At Wolferstans, we understand that the primary aim of your business will be to resolve any dispute as quickly and as cheaply as possible, usually working within the contractual parameters previously agreed with the other party.
We can assist with early advice on a potential construction dispute, then assist with a range of highly effective methods for resolving your dispute, including private negotiation, construction mediation, construction adjudication and court litigation. You can find out more about these options further down.
At all times, our priority will be to protect your commercial interests, including wider concerns around your reputation and relationships.
Our expertise with construction dispute resolution
Our construction disputes solicitors can help with matters including:
- Terminating construction contracts
- Construction defects
- Unfinished works
- Construction costs disputes
- Claims for damages related to the financial impact of delays
- Joint venture disputes
- Professional negligence claims
Our clients include construction businesses and construction professionals, as well as developers, property investors and a wide range of other businesses involved in property construction projects.
Flexible funding to suit your circumstances
Our construction dispute resolution solicitors are able to offer various funding options to suit your matter, including fixed fees, capped fees, and insurance backed funding arrangements.
Types of construction disputes with which we can assist
Terminating construction contracts
Exiting a construction contract is not always straightforward. You need to have a valid reason to do so within the terms set out in the contract, or you could end up facing legal action from the other party or parties to the contract.
Our construction disputes solicitors can advise you on whether you have the right to exit a construction contract under the terms set out and, if so, notify the other party or parties of your intention to do so and the grounds under which you are taking this action.
If you do not have the right to exit the contract under the terms set out, we can assist in negotiating an exit on favourable terms that protects your reputation and relationships.
Where it is suggested that construction work is defective, it first needs to be confirmed whether this is the case. If it is agreed that there are defects, the party responsible will normally have the right to make good the defects. Should they be unwilling or unable to do so, the client may have the right to claim compensation to cover the cost of fixing the defects and any other financial losses they have suffered as a result.
We can assist with securing an independent second opinion on whether there are genuine defects and your options should this prove to be the case. In most instances, such issues can usually be resolved amicably through negotiation, mediation or adjudication.
A construction contract should clearly set out what works will be completed under the contract and by when. If those works are not completed to the satisfaction of the client, they may have the right to make a claim against the contractor or construction professional they hold responsible for the unfinished works.
Disputes about unfinished works can arise under a number of circumstances, including where there is disagreement over whether the terms of the contract have been met or where a contractor or construction professional believes that have legitimate grounds not to complete the works specified (e.g. failure by the client to make an agreed interim payment).
Whatever the situation, our construction disputes lawyers can help unpick the legal details and give you clarity over your position. We can then help to agree on an amicable resolution or initiate court proceedings as the situation requires.
Construction costs disputes
Costs are a very common source of construction disputes. Disagreements often arise over issues such as invoices that are higher than the original estimate and non-payment or underpayment by clients. It is important to take a pragmatic view of the potential cost of litigation versus the level of cost in dispute.
Our team are highly experienced with cost disputes, so can offer sensible, realistic advice on your position and the best action to take for your overall financial interests. We have a strong track record of negotiating favourable settlements for even the most complex construction costs disputes.
Claims for damages related to the financial impact of delays
Delays in a construction project can often have a significant financial impact, including the potential to push up costs and cause the client to miss out on the potential revenue generated by the finished project.
Depending on the situation, the client may have grounds for a financial claim against a contractor or construction professional who they hold responsible for delays. Whether such a claim is likely to succeed will hinge on various factors, including whether such delays breached the construction contract and whether they were avoidable.
Our construction disputes solicitors can advise on whether there may be grounds for a claim and robustly represent your interests, through private negotiations, alternative dispute resolution and court proceedings.
Joint venture disputes
Joint ventures can be very commercially advantageous, but conflicts can often arise where one or more parties feel that the terms of their joint venture agreement have been breached.
Our expertise in negotiation and alternative dispute resolution means we can give you the best chance of reaching an amicable resolution that allows you to continue your commercial relationship. Where things have completely broken down and repairing the relationship is not possible, we can advise you on your options for exiting the joint venture agreement and pursuing any legal action that may be appropriate.
How we can help with resolving construction disputes
Clear advice on your legal position in relation to a construction dispute
Whether your contract sits under the NEC or the JCT framework, we can assist in the proper interpretation of the clauses that have generated the potential dispute and give early advice on the merits of any proposed legal action, whether brought by or against your business. Whenever we take on a construction dispute, we will give full and comprehensive costs advice and risk analysis from the outset, and our aim will always be to generate the best value resolution to any dispute.
Private negotiation for construction disputes
Wherever possible, we will seek to resolve your dispute quickly and efficiently using pro-active negotiation, as experience tells us this is the best way to maintain an ongoing working relationship between the parties, whilst still achieving an outcome that is acceptable to all.
Where negotiation does not resolve matters, we are great proponents of Mediation in appropriate cases. Our team have considerable experience of representing parties at successful mediations that lead to positive resolution in the majority of cases. We will also always be honest with our clients if we feel that the merits of their claim warrant a settlement being reached in order to avoid a potentially costly litigation process.
Of course, we understand that some cases are simply not capable of resolution by agreement, either because the parties are just too far apart in their expectations or because there has been a fundamental breakdown in the relationship. In those cases, we will advise on the contractually prescribed mechanism of dispute resolution, which, in the majority of construction projects, will be Adjudication.
We can guide your business through the Adjudication process as prescribed within the contract and prepare representations to the Adjudicator on its behalf. Where matters are particularly complex or high value, we can instruct a specialist barrister to represent your business before the Adjudicator. Where enforcement is required, we can quickly and efficiently seek summary judgment from the Courts before exploring all appropriate enforcement mechanisms on behalf of your business.
Finally, should Adjudication fail to conclude the matter or should the contract directly permit litigation before the Courts, our team of litigators (who have experience representing clients in all Courts up to and including the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom) will work within the remit of the Pre-Action Protocol for Construction and Engineering Disputes to ensure full compliance with duties relating to pre-action conduct.
Should the matter not be capable of resolution at a pre-action stage, we will robustly represent your business throughout litigation (whether as Claimant or Defendant to the action) with a view to securing the most favourable outcome possible. Throughout this process, we will undertake an ongoing review of the costs/risk analysis so that there are no unwelcome or unforeseen surprises for your business at the conclusion of the litigation.
Flexible funding for construction disputes
Fixed fee construction dispute resolution
We can offer fixed fees for certain matters, giving you clarity and certainty over the exact costs involved. Letters before action, for example, can be prepared on a fixed fee basis.
Private payment/pay as you go
If you will be needing ongoing legal support, we will keep you advised and updated with regular interim accounts for the work carried out, enabling you to plan and budget for your costs.
Book a consultation with our construction dispute solicitors in Plymouth
Our specialist litigation solicitors can help you resolve your construction dispute. Call us on 01752 292201 to book a consultation about your claim.