Last edited 03 Jan 2021

Main author

Michael Brooks

Avoiding and resolving disputes - review


‘Avoiding and resolving disputes: A short guide for architects

Bart Kavanagh

Published by RIBA Publishing (May 2017)

In 2013, an NBS survey, the National Construction Contracts and Law Survey, found that 30% of firms had been involved in at least one dispute in the previous 12 months. As a consequence, there is enormous interest in construction disputes but this tends to focus on dispute resolution techniques rather than how to avoid them.

Bart Kavanagh, a chartered architect and non-practising barrister with more than 35 years in the industry, has written an excellent new pocketbook that will serve as a worthwhile primer for architecture students as well as a refresher for professionals.

The book provides a straightforward and easy-to-read guide to the essentials of construction disputes, which can often be ‘foreign territory’ for architects. It tackles the risks that practitioners may face, steps that can be taken to minimise them, and what to do when such risks develop into a dispute.

The book covers the typical reasons for disputes that tend to arise between parties on a project, and highlights some tips for avoiding them in the first place. Issues can often be informally negotiated as they arise, as the book explains, but sometimes this will be insufficient and full-blown disputes need to be handled more formally.

Throughout, the author arranges the topics in an accessible way with helpful checklists and important cases to remember. The most common alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options are described, from mediation to adjudication to litigation.

This succinct, no-nonsense guide will come in handy for architects of all levels of experience, as well as other professionals such as contractors or quantity surveyors who feel like familiarising themselves with the core concepts and processes.

To purchase the book, see RIBA Bookshops.

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--Michael Brooks

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