The stated aim of this thesis is an empirical investigation into the factors which impact on
the development and choice of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a dispute
resolution procedure between contractor and sub/specialist contractor in the construction
industry of England and Wales. The methodology selected to achieve this aim was the
collection of both quantitative and qualitative data through a postal survey and in-depth
follow-up interviews. A further study of legal advisors to the construction industry was
undertaken to investigate their attitudes towards ADR and to assess the influence of legal
advisors in the choice and use of ADR by contractors. The research provides evidence
that contractors are considerably dissatisfied with the costs, speed and adversarial
approach of both arbitration and litigation and that many of the advantages of ADR,
which are promoted its proponents, are held as perceptions by contractors. These
attitudes are resulting in contractors being significantly interested in using ADR.
However, the research confirms that ADR is not used extensively and provides data to
show its use is hindered by negative perceptions, first, that it can be used to create delay
in the settlement of disputes and, second, its non-binding nature is a weakness. The
research indicates that contractors are likely to confine the use of ADR to small financial
disputes and that arbitration and litigation are likely to continue to be preferred for large
disputes. The development of ADR is likely to be further restricted by contractors'
perceptions about the limitations of ADR for construction disputes. Contractors do not
perceive ADR to be appropriate for disputes where the parties have become adversarial
and entrenched in their position nor where the dispute is perceived to be legally or
technically complex. These perceptions about ADR are supported by data from the
interviews with legal advisors. Further, contractors' perceptions that the formal systems
are manipulated in the dispute resolution process are confirmed. Legal advisors perceive
that contractors generally adopt an adversarial approach by the time they seek legal advice
and ADR is unlikely to be recommended or used in these circumstances. Non-binding
ADR is unlikely to develop significantly as a dispute resolution procedure for main
contractor and sub/specialist contractor disputes when the parties employ an adversarial
approach or when the dispute is legally or technically complex. The research provides
statistical and qualitative data about the factors involved in the choice of ADR by
contractors and an analysis of its implications for the future development of ADR.
Permanent link to this resource: https://doi.org/10.24384/htte-fz51
Supervisors: Lavers, Anthony; Fellows, Richard; Woodhouse, Diana
Faculty of Technology, Design and EnvironmentSchool of the Built Environment
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