In 2013, the projected growth in London’s population led to the demand for Transport for London (TfL) to expand the capital’s rail network and open up areas for new development to increase access to jobs and social opportunities.

Sketch of tube

This major redevelopment required the organisation to enter into billions of pounds worth of contracts with its main contractors. TfL and its contractors realised that conflicts between parties are inevitable and that these can often decrease efficiency and increase cost during projects. TfL recognised that the solution was to create a collaborative culture between themselves and their contractors in order to avoid possible conflicts between parties

How did TfL find a solution to avoid these conflicts with contractors?

TfL, together with its main contractors Costain and Laing O’Rourke, approached us and met with members of the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) team to develop a process by which early intervention could avoid possible conflicts. TfL and its contractors, with the support of DRS, agreed a bespoke solution known as the Conflict Avoidance Panel (CAP) procedure.

This panel consisted of industry experts and professionals gathered by DRS who would provide impartial, practicable and acceptable information and guidance to all parties involved. CAPs encourage cooperation and resolve differences early, without the need for court, arbitration or adjudication. This process was then incorporated into standard engineering contracts.

Avoiding conflicts saves time, cost and energy that would be better served in delivering projects. CAP helps resolve issues at the time of the event in the way the contract intended, it helps both parties.

What was the impact for TfL and its contractors?

The introduction of CAP allows TfL and its contractors to identify problem areas early, allowing for quick and effective intervention to deal with these effectively. CAP ensures that all involved parties are focused on dealing with these issues and are communicating through structured conversations in a collaborative environment. TfL have used the CAP procedure successfully on 11 cases, which otherwise could have ended up in costly adjudication. Following this success, TfL will include CAP in all future contracts and are looking to apply it retrospectively where required.

In total, these contracts are worth an estimated £7 billion over the next 10 years.

The process of agreeing the CAP procedures allows the parties freedom, which is essential to gain comfort that the procedural rules do not become more important and time consuming than the dispute itself. My experience working with RICS is positive, as they listened and continue to do so to ensure that CAP is meeting the needs of its users.

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If you are interested to learn more about DRS Conflict Avoidance procedures and would like to speak to a member of the team, please fill out the form below and we will contact you.

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