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What is the Best Way to Handle a Building Dispute?

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  • Written By: L. Dunne
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A building dispute can arise for numerous reasons, it could occur when construction is underway or even in the beginning steps of the building process. These conflicts can occur over a residential or commercial scale and can be minor or very large. The type of building dispute will warrant how to handle the disagreement, as there are multiple ways to address these types of issues.

The following are some of the different types of building disputes: domestic building issues between a property owner and a contractor or builder, building disputes between contractors and subcontractors, disputes between a property owner or builder and the zoning authorities, and commercial building disputes. A building dispute can become very serious quickly due to the money and time involved in building matters. Appropriate actions should be taken immediately to ensure no further damage is done or money lost.

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The first step all individuals or companies should take is to address the problem with the other party formally, in writing, and allow time for a response. This indicates seriousness to the the other party and should openly outlines all issues at hand. If there is no response, the individual should contact a building dispute lawyer to determine the procedures required for making a formal complaint in the specific jurisdiction. In the United Kingdom (U.K.), a commercial and consumer tribunal must be consulted prior to entering mediation or arbitration. In the United States (U.S.), the lawyer can arrange for a mediation or arbitration without consulting any type of tribunal.

Mediation and arbitration offers are forms of alternative dispute resolution. These are ways in which a matter can be resolved without a formal trial. The U.K. tribunal often sends the parties to mediation at the beginning of proceedings in an attempt to settle the matter. Mediations and arbitrations are often less expensive and more expeditious than going to trial, but only arbitration can produce a binding agreement.

The following applies to U.S. matters only, as U.K. disputes must be handled through the tribunal process. A building dispute lawyer should be able to immediately assess whether the conflict is too large and in-depth to handle through alternative dispute resolution. In the event the dispute cannot be handled through mediation or arbitration, a lawsuit can be filed and the parties prepared for trial. Similarly, if no agreement is made in mediation, the next step will be a formal lawsuit and trial. The advantage in this case is that both parties already know the other's evidence and points of defense.

A building dispute can be very complicated and costly. Parties should attempt alternative dispute resolution to avoid incurring any further costs or losing unnecessary time. A lawyer can be very helpful, but is not always necessary. Following the tips above should help resolve the matter in the best way possible.

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