Building and construction projects include many elements that have to work together, as well as a large number of parties who have to combine their projects into a greater whole. The complexity of the construction sector and the different activities of the many parties can result in disagreements and conflicts arising along the way. Conflicts are frequently allowed to develop, and this is both costly for the parties and damaging to their collaborative relations.
Mediation and conciliation are conflict resolution tools that deal with more aspects of a conflict than a traditional arbitration process. Mediation and conciliation does not only look at the legal issues, but to a greater extent also weighs up the parties’ interests in a flexible resolution. This broadens the scope for resolving the dispute and enables the parties to find a good solution, end the conflict and continue the project together.
Mediation and conciliation are therefore processes that seek to clarify the substance of the conflict and reach a satisfactory common solution and strive for reconciliation or a win-win situation for both parties, rather than having a winner and a loser from the conflict. A major advantage of mediation and conciliation is that it can proceed quickly and take place during the project while everyone has the details and history of the dispute fresh in their memory. This makes it easier for the parties to find a mutually acceptable solution and preserve their collaborative relations on the project, despite their disagreements.
In this guide, we encourage the parties in the construction sector to use mediation or conciliation to resolve their conflicts. The guide supports the rules in the AB system (‘General Provisions’ for various types of contract) and the rules of procedure of the Danish Building and Construction Arbitration Board, as well as providing an understanding of the mediation and conciliation process. The guide also makes several recommendations on how the parties can prepare themselves and contribute to an effective and value-creating mediation or conciliation process.