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18 JUN 2018

Scottish Government hosts RICS for conflict avoidance discussions

RICS was invited by the Scottish Government to discuss viable conflict avoidance strategies to help reduce the financial and reputational costs caused by disputes.

A range of Scottish public bodies and local authorities were represented at the meeting to learn about conflict avoidance and early intervention, and to contribute to the discussions.

Led by Dr John Fletcher, ADR Products Group Director and Martin Burns, Head of ADR Research and Development, the aim of the session was to promote greater understanding of the use of conflict avoidance techniques to help deal with potential disputes early and amicably, thereby avoiding costly, slow and potentially damaging litigation.

Discussions centred on how industry can work more collaboratively to implement conflict avoidance mechanisms into contracts and projects, and where disputes do arise, how early intervention techniques such as Conflict Avoidance Processes (CAP) can be used to reduce the time and costs of achieving a resolution.

Speaking to the successful implementation of CAP in contracts between Transport for London and major delivery partners involved in the refurbishment of the London Underground since 2014, RICS shared with the group the key features of the TfL process and how it could be tailored to projects of all scales and value across the construction industry.

The rise in conflict avoidance strategies results from construction industry reports that traditional dispute resolution mechanisms, such as adjudication, are increasingly considered unduly complex, legalistic and expensive for the industry. Many organisations are already adopting a more collaborative contracting ethos to ensure projects are delivered on time and within budget, and with the added benefit of maintaining working relationships during the currency of the project.

Discussions following the RICS presentation signalled a genuine enthusiasm for the concept of collaborative contracting, and a commitment to embedding conflict avoidance mechanisms into the contractual negotiation process. Delegates were invited by RICS to propose projects on which CAP could be applied, and to help RICS steering group identify and inform decision makers and influencers in government and industry about how to access and use techniques to avoid conflicts and, where necessary, deal with emerging disputes early and effectively.

Dispute Resolution in Scotland

Those who want to learn more about Conflict Avoidance, or to identify a project to include CAP techniques, please contact RICS Dispute Resolution Service in Scotland.