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What is expert determination in construction?

May, 31 2021
The construction industry has its fair share of challenges, but perhaps one of the most costly concerns right now is dispute resolutions.   According to a study published in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the industry loses between $4 billion and $12 billion every year to dispute resolutions and claims. And it’s easy to see why.   Unlike other commercial disputes, construction disputes face unique sets of challenges because these projects:  
  • Involve a diverse array of stakeholders such as project owners, corporations, government agencies, contractors, subcontractors, engineers, suppliers, legal representatives, and others.
  • Carry huge volumes of documentation from multiple sources.
  • Have complex technical matters
  • Require parties to balance commercial and legal aspects of claims, resolve disputes promptly, and maintain good working relationships. But all is not lost.
  A growing number of construction companies are adopting expert determination for resolutions. This is when contract parties jointly appoint a construction expert witness to decide disputes. Historically, an expert determination has been used to address rental disputes and share valuations. So, why use it for construction disputes?  

Benefits of hiring a construction expert witness for disputes

 

Quick and cost-effective

  Hiring a construction expert witness is a quicker and pocket-friendlier procedure than conventional litigation, which can take several months or years to conclude. The shorter timelines and no need for parties to inform arbitrators of their expert opinions also help keep costs down.  

Less damage to commercial relationships

  Industry experts recommend expert determination for construction disputes because it does less damage to commercial relationships than traditional litigation. The process is also confidential (not public like court processes) and less adversarial due to shorter timescales.  

Unrestricted investigations

  In conventional litigations, arbitrators are usually restricted to what information is provided by the parties when carrying out investigations. But this is not the case for a construction expert witness.   The expert can carry out their investigations without following the parties' submissions and ensures the outcome is unbiased. Since an expert is also leading the investigation, they can easily navigate technical matters, saving time and costs in the long run.  

Confidential

  As mentioned above, expert determination helps keep disputes out of the public. So if you want to keep your company’s disputes private, it may be wise to hire a construction expert witness. This mode of resolving disputes is also more private than ordinary adjudications because there are limited grounds for resisting enforcement.   As you can see, adopting expert determination for construction disputes can help parties manage issues in a way that minimizes costs and better supports projects. At G3SoilWorks, we take pride in helping you overcome challenges, grow your business and build your clients. To learn more about hiring a construction expert witness in Southern California, contact us today!  

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