Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Architecture engineering, Construction engineering


The construction industry is known to be litigious (Latham, 1994). This is hardly surprising given the industry’s fragmented nature in which project teams comprising an extensive network of employers, designers and constructors are brought together to deliver once-off projects, following which, the organisation is almost always disbanded. The short term objectives of the various groupings are often competing and occasionally incompatible. For example, many employers will wish to minimise costs in developing a project, designers may resist pressures on budgets in order to safeguard their ‘brand’, and the commercial imperative of maximising profit will drive contractors towards charging what the market will bear. It is not difficult to see disputes breaking out in these circumstances.

This study examines a range of methods by which construction disputes may be resolved. The particular focus is on the methods set out in the main forms of building contract in Ireland. The study outlines how disagreements become disputes and their escalation in terms of intensity and cost. The study reviews dispute resolution techniques in terms of their characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks and covers issues related to negotiation, mediation and conciliation, statutory adjudication, arbitration and litigation.

The study is addressed to Irish students undertaking undergraduate and conversion masters courses in quantity surveying and construction management disciplines.