The National Academy of Construction (NAC) has determined that disputes, and their accompanying inefficiencies and costs, constitute a significant problem for the industry. In 2002, the NAC assessed the industry's progress in attacking this problem and determined that although the tools, techniques, and processes for preventing and efficiently resolving disputes are already in place, they are not being widely used. In 2003, the NAC helped to persuade the Center for Construction Industry Studies (CCIS) at the University of Texas and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to finance and conduct empirical research to develop accurate information about the relative transaction costs of various forms of dispute resolution. In 2004 the NAC teamed with the Federal Facilities Council (FFC) of the National Research Council to sponsor the "Government/Industry Forum on Reducing Construction Costs: Uses of Best Dispute Resolution Practices by Project Owners." The forum was held on September 23, 2004, at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Speakers and panelists at the forum addressed several topics.
Reducing Construction Costs addresses topics such as the root causes of disputes and the impact of disputes on project costs and the economics of the construction industry. A second topic addressed was dispute resolution tools and techniques for preventing, managing, and resolving construction- related disputes. This report documents examples of successful uses of dispute resolution tools and techniques on some high-profile projects, and also provides ways to encourage greater use of dispute resolution tools throughout the industry. This report addresses steps that owners of construction projects (who have the greatest ability to influence how their projects are conducted) should take in order to make their projects more successful.