Show Me the Money | Value Engineered Alternative Dispute Resolution

Those of us in the construction claims and construction defect world that have run businesses and constructed projects have always kept one objective top of mind: to turn a profit each month, quarter and year.

Sounds simple, and in fact, the concept is quite simple. But in practice it can be difficult. And when we are in tough economic times, such as now, we need to be more creative in meeting this goal. As I have told my children time again, we need to “think outside the bun.”

So in analyzing and evaluating the expenses that can be incurred, we are most likely searching for budget items that can be reduced, made more efficient or eliminated. In the same way that we tell our children we are tightening our belts, we tell our boards of directors, managers and staff to look for ways to cut back and save. Hopefully we can accomplish this without any reduction in our quality of service or product to our customers. If and when we can accomplish that goal, we have succeeded as owners and managers.

How is it then that much of the cost containment on construction defect and construction cases has been to reduce the use of attorneys and consultants? And why is it that this approach typically aims to reduce the hourly fees and expenses that both groups accrue, rather than addressing the bigger picture by developing more effective controls to better manage the litigation?

There is no doubt, due to the complexity of typical complex litigation and the animosity of the parties involved, that many cases will take considerable time and monies before they are resolved. But there is a class of construction defect and construction claims that can be resolved in short order and with considerable cost savings. These are the cases where most, if not all, parties agree that a defect exists and should be repaired so that the property owner can use the property.

Unfortunately, these cases frequently take too long to resolve and way too much money is spent on the “defense” of the case when, in fact, parties could realize significant cost savings if they took a more effective approach to resolution early on in the process.

Our approach to resolution for this cadre of cases is called VE-ADR, or Value Engineered Alternative Dispute Resolution. We bring a unique project management, neutral expert approach that is equitable to all parties, short on time and results in a significant cost savings for all involved. I will explore this approach to litigation resolution in more detail through out the coming months. top of mind: to turn a profit each month, quarter and year.