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Losses Preferred To Disputes Resolution

PARTIES to construction disputes often take a loss instead of spending time and money to resolve disputes, a Bahamian project consultant has disclosed.

DISPUTES are prevalent within the construction sector particularly on small scale residential projects according to a local consultant, noting that consumers and contractors are often content taking a loss rather than seeking to resolve their disputes.

John-Michael Clarke, president and managing director of Veritas Consultants, told Tribune Business that disputes between contractors and clients erupt frequently - especially on small-scale residential projects.

"I think that a lot of the challenges that contractors face, particularly the small guys, are the processes that need to take place to resolve disputes," he said. "They aren't really followed. A lot of these construction contracts, particularly the residential ones, start wrong and things end wrong.

"They don't have proper mechanisms in place to resolve disputes, don't know how to do proper estimates and, when disputes do happen, contractors don't know what avenues are available to them. The whole idea is to educate contractors and consumers on the dispute mechanism outside the courts that are available."

Speaking with Tribune Business on the sidelines of the seventh annual Arbitration & Investment Summit, Mr Clarke, a quantity surveyor, added that contract and workmanship-related disputes occur all too frequently within the construction sector.

"It's very prevalent. We hear what happens on big projects but, on small projects, people are firing contractors all the time," he said. "Consumers and contractors are just content taking the loss instead of finding people that can help them resolve their disputes or knowing where to go.

"In some instances, projects stall for simple things. People end up firing good contractors, and contractors end up walking away from good projects."

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