The Four Cs of Mediating Contract Disputes

Written by Lyle Charles Consulting.

Disputes can arise in any business partnership, but they can be particularly costly in the world construction. Waiting for a conflict to be resolved can mean a shutdown in work, which only drives up the costs of the final project and makes it harder to meet deadlines. This is one major reason why the mediation process is an increasingly popular method of resolving construction conflicts.

Many businesses turn to construction mediators such as Lyle Charles who have experience and specific expertise in dealing with issues within the industry. Mediators can provide construction advisory services and help companies in conflict to come to a mutually beneficial resolution.

There are four Cs that stand out as some of the best reasons for construction industry disputes to be settled in mediation rather than in court:

Conflict Avoidance: Litigation is always messy and can lead to dissolution of previously successful construction partnerships. Going through the mediation process can help to repair relationships that have been damaged by previous conflicts. Even more importantly, it can give both parties a platform to air their grievances and work toward developing processes to ensure that issues don’t come up in the first place.

Control: The nature of court procedures dictates that one side “wins” the case, which means that the losing side will almost always have bad blood. Mediation allows both sides to come to an agreement that they can feel good about and that allows them to resume their business relationship.

Confidentiality: One of the significant drawbacks of going through a civil court case is that it is a public process. This means that both parties might be required to share information that is sensitive or documents that could negatively impact their business. In addition, a civil case lets competitors know that the two parties are having a dispute. Going through a mediation process is completely confidential, meaning that the conflict can be resolved without any element being made public

Concrete Results: After a mediator performs a construction claims analysis, they can tell both parties the likely outcome of a civil trial. Knowing this information can help both sides to understand their true positions and quickly come to a realistic resolution of their issues. This avoids months – or years – of trials and appeals that can sink business relationships and end major construction jobs. Mediation is successful in about 80 percent of all instances, which means that parties can expect to have a final answer to their issues after going through the process.


Lyle Charles Consulting has providing mediation and consulting services for a wide range of clients in the construction industry. Lyle Charles is a recognized construction claims consultant and expert in structural steel.