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Maintaining Positive Professional Relationships During Construction Arbitration

Construction arbitration can happen between any two parties, even if they have an amicable relationship. Often, disputes arise as a result of a simple disagreement about work performed or materials provided and can be easily resolved without ever seriously comprising the relationship between the opposing parties. 

If you find yourself in a situation where arbitration seems to be the only option, there are ways to manage arbitration so that you can maintain relationships with their company. Contacting a Houston construction arbitration attorney from Cotney Construction Law will ultimately prove crucial to maintaining positive professional relationships between parties during the process of arbitration.

Related: Should I Resolve My Dispute By Arbitration?

Find Common Ground

In arbitration, the first step that you should take is to find common ground with the other party. Relationships are built on mutual experience and trust between both parties. In this case, you can use common ground to try to find a better solution for both parties.

Working in construction, your company likely has a lot in common with other construction companies. Use this position in your argument to help the other party see where you are coming from. You may find that much of the disagreement has to do with ineffective communication between the two groups.

You can use your common ground related to the project that you are working on as a basis for your position. Draw on this to reference specific issues in common experiences so that you can relate your side of the argument to either party more effectively. Once the other party can understand your point of view, there is a better chance that both sides will be able to agree on specific issues.

Act Professionally and Be Kind

Movies depict lawyers as being aggressive and ill-tempered when trying to handle negotiations. Any one of our professional Houston construction attorneys will immediately tell you that this is the opposite of what you should do. If you want to maintain a relationship or to be able to have successful negotiations, the keys are to act professionally and be kind to the other party. 

Being aggressive, unnecessarily argumentative, or otherwise unlikable will make it harder for the other party to compromise with you. It will quickly reduce your chances of maintaining a relationship with the other party has a significant and well-proven reason to not like you.

Just because you should be kind to the other party does not mean that the other party will look down on you in any way. Instead, it will actually make you appear more agreeable and make the other party more likely to want to work with you. Acting with professionalism during the arbitration process shows that you are serious about maintaining your point of view on the situation, but you place more value on the relationship with the other party than you do on just proving that you are right. At the end of the arbitration process, the other party will be more likely to want to keep the relationship going, and you will not have provided a personal reason for them to avoid working with you in the future.

Related: What are the Benefits of Arbitration? 

Be Open-Minded

When you go into any type of negotiation or arbitration, it is important to be open-minded. Although you have your own point of view on the situation, you should try to understand how the other party views it, too. You may be surprised at how they see the situation, especially if they provide evidence to back up their claims that can change your point of view.

Being open-minded also means being willing to compromise. In the end, the relationship with the other party may be more important than whatever dispute you are trying to resolve an arbitration. This is especially true if the other company provides a service that is hard to find anywhere else. It could impact your future work if you are no longer able to work with that subcontractor.

Be attentive and willing to discuss different points of view during the arbitration. Nothing kills a relationship faster than the feeling that you are not being listened to by the other party. Do not give the other party the feeling that you are not listening because regardless of how the arbitration ends, they are likely to think that you do not take them seriously.

Try Other Options First

Arbitration is usually the final step in resolving the dispute since it can be a legally binding process. It essentially ends the discussion about a dispute with few options for recourse afterward. The decisions are also legally enforceable, meaning that you can take legal action to force the other party to abide by the terms of the arbitration. Because of this, it needs to be the last option in resolving it.

You should try other options before returning to arbitration. If you jump straight to arbitration, you will likely leave the other party aggravated and unwilling to work with you. Instead, try one of the other options that are more of a discussion and gives the other party a chance to resolve the issue without taking legal action.

For example, the first step in resolving a dispute should be to talk to the other party. Once the dispute is introduced, bring together all of the involved party representatives so that you can sit down and discuss the problem. This is a very low-stress way of handling the situation since legal action is not necessary, and you have a better chance of coming to compromise. Willing compromises are almost always better than forced actions like the decision of arbitration.

If an open discussion about the dispute does not produce results, you can begin to involve Houston construction law attorneys to help you find a solution. This could include negotiation to try to find an amicable solution to the problem. You can also have your lawyer send a notice of intent to file legal action to the other party. If you take the step, be sure that the dispute is worth risking the relationship. 

Once legal action is taken, you must be careful to maintain a relationship. Otherwise, that relationship will not work. Your notice of intent should also fully explain your point of view on the dispute and identify what steps are next. Avoid making accusations when blaming the other party, and focus on how you can work together to find solutions.

Arbitration can be an effective way to end a dispute, but you risk ruining the relationship with the other party. Take care not to alienate the other party for your actions so that you can work together later. If you have questions about arbitration or maintaining business relationships, contact Houston construction dispute lawyers from Cotney Construction Law.

If you would like to speak with one of our Houston construction attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.