The Importance of Understanding the Mediation Process

Disputes are not uncommon within the building industry. Mediation is a process by which these disputes can be resolved without recourse to the courts, an action which can be both time consuming and expensive. The mediation format is structured to encourage open communication between the parties in dispute.

When a dispute cannot be resolved internally the issue can be directed to the courts, but there are also other alternatives:

  • Arbitration – This where all facts are presented to a third party who decides on a solution independently.
  • Mediation – This where a neutral third party acts as a mediator between the parties, allowing them to come to a mutually agreeable solution.

Mediation is beneficial when:

  • There are multiple issues of fact and law with multiple parties involved
  • There is a fear of losing: court decisions are highly unpredictable
  • Litigants are sensitive and averse to risk
  • Commercial clients want solutions to situations, whereas litigation is purely win/lose
  • The parties involved will need to continue working together following the resolution.

Mediation will not be appropriate if:

  • There is no common ground or if one or both parties are unable or unwilling to compromise and abide by the mediation process
  • The dispute is deficient in information
  • The parties involved are too bitter to separate emotion from the situation
  • Illegal activities are involved

The mediation process follows a formalised number of steps aimed at finding a way forward, and is overseen by the mediator. The process culminates in a final written agreement which details all terms agreed. The mediator is responsible for ensuring all parties sign the mediated agreement (which is written by the parties involved) to which they have agreed to abide.

On occasion it may be necessary to have an interim agreement. This is a broad agreement without detailed specifics.

The mediator may also terminate the process, should it be considered no longer viable.

Mediation follows a set of negotiation principles designed to ensure an effective outcome of the negotiation process.

Blueprint CPD’s Business Development training includes a module on Mediation, which counts towards your tradesperson's licence. The module will give you an understanding of the mediation process, and when it is and isn't suitable as an alternative for dispute resolution. It also gives a detailed breakdown of the steps and negotiation principles employed in the mediation process.

To find out more, contact Blueprint CPD now.