This is the first of what we intend to be a regular offering of problem solving scenarios from our panel of mediators.
When I first started out as a full time mediator in 1995, my previous career as a Chartered Surveyor stood me in good stead to help people find ways of resolving property and construction disputes which would cost a fortune to take to court. The property sector is never short of a dispute and during my mediation career I have mediated everything from boundary disputes between neighbours (some of the hardest to settle!) to those involving multi-million pound developments and a multitude of parties. But it is the dispute which finds a resolution which would be outside anything a court might be able to deliver that can give the most satisfaction to both the mediator and the parties.
Take for example, the dispute between a wealthy individual (Mr A) building his dream home, a seven bedroom mansion. He entered into a design and build contract with a contractor/developer at a cost of just over £4 million. It was apparent that Mr A had not been the easiest of clients – the specification was amended many times and the final account came to over £6 million. This came as a shock to Mr A, who had totally under-estimated the impact his variations would have on the cost and the delivery of the project, with increased preliminaries and significant extensions of time being required.
Mr A disputed this and indicated that he would be counter-claiming for a significant schedule of defects.