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DRS Conflict Avoidance Consultancy

DRS Conflict Avoidance Consultancy

Save time, money and reputation for your organisation with a tailored dispute resolution service.

Save time, money and reputation for your organisation with a tailored dispute resolution service

Disputes in the construction and engineering sector are increasing in number, and the cost to the industry and wider economy is immense. The financial cost of disputes in the UK construction industry is measured in billions of pounds, and the damage they cause is not just financial.

Disputes also cause immeasurable harm to business relationships and brand reputations, as well as being painfully slow to resolve. It can take an inordinately long time to resolve a dispute through traditional means, such as arbitration and litigation. As a result, when issues occur, projects are often delivered behind schedule, over budget, and quality is often undermined.

Many contracting parties are now focusing on encouraging collaborative working, and the use of early intervention techniques to try and resolve differences of opinion before they escalate into full blown disputes. An increasing number of major infrastructure bodies are now using embedded Conflict Avoidance mechanisms to control and manage potential conflict and prevent the need for formal dispute resolution procedures, such as arbitration or litigation.

Why work with us?

RICS Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) is the world's oldest and largest provider of alternative dispute resolution services to the property and construction industries. We have 40 years’ experience of identifying and engaging with the highly skilled RICS members and other professionals who make up the President’s Panel, from which dispute resolvers are selected.

We use our expert knowledge and experience, gained over four decades, to work with governments, judiciaries, major infrastructure contractors and other clients in the built environment sector to develop new Conflict Avoidance and Dispute Resolution services designed to meet their specific needs.

How Transport for London used conflict avoidance to safeguard valuable contracts

  • In 2013, the projected growth in London’s population led to the demand for Transport for London (TFL) to expand the capital’s rail network and open up areas for new development to increase access to jobs and social opportunities. This major redevelopment required the organisation to enter into billions of pounds worth of contracts with its main contractors. TFL and its contractors realised that conflicts between parties are inevitable and that these can often decrease efficiency and increase cost during projects. TFL recognised that the solution was to create a collaborative culture between themselves and their contractors in order to avoid possible conflicts between parties.

    How did TFL find a solution to avoid these conflicts with contractors?

    TFL, together with its main contractors Costain and Laing O’Rourke, approached RICS and met with members of the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) team to develop a process by which early intervention could avoid possible conflicts.

    TFL and its contractors, with the support of DRS agreed a bespoke solution known as the Conflict Avoidance Panel (CAP) procedure. This panel consisted of industry experts and professionals gathered by DRS who would provide impartial, practicable and acceptable
    information and guidance to all parties involved.

    CAPs encourage cooperation and resolve differences early, without the need for court, arbitration or adjudication. This process was then incorporated into standard engineering contracts.

    What was the impact for TFL and its contractors?

    The introduction of CAP allows TFL and its contractors to identify problem areas early, allowing for quick and effective intervention to deal with these effectively. CAP ensures that all involved parties are focussed on dealing with these issues and are communicating
    through structured conversations in a collaborative environment.

    TFL have used the CAP procedure successfully on 11 cases, which otherwise could have ended up in costly adjudication. Following this success, TFL will include CAP in all future contracts and are looking to apply it retrospectively where required. In total, these
    contracts are worth an estimated £7bn over the next 10 years.

    What did the contractors make of the bespoke service?

    “The process of agreeing the CAP procedures allows the parties freedom, which is essential to gain comfort that the procedural rules do not become more important and time consuming than the dispute itself. My experience working with RICS is positive, as they listened and continue to do so to ensure that CAP is meeting the needs of its users.” Andy Dixon, Costain.

    Avoiding conflicts saves time, cost and energy that would be better served in delivering projects. CAP helps resolve issues at the time of the event in the way
    the contract intended, it helps both parties.

    From a commercial perspective it is a brilliant process
    compared to alternatives such as mediation, adjudication and arbitration.“

    Sue Barrett

Conflict Avoidance Consultancy

DRS has developed its consultancy service, working closely with our clients to create innovative Conflict Avoidance and Dispute Resolution (CA & DR) systems in new areas such as planning and infrastructure across the globe.

We offer:

  • An unparalleled ability, based on decades of experience, to be able to sit down with clients and contractors and understand their needs
  • The expertise to work collaboratively with clients and contractors to develop a system designed specifically to meet their needs
  • Four decades of experience in identifying, engaging with and managing highly skilled panel members
  • Embedded impartiality as an independent third party in managing the Conflict Avoidance and Dispute Resolution process
  • A commitment to setting and upholding the highest standards of excellence and integrity, supported by strict regulation, quality assurance procedures and complaints handling.
  • Well-established and effective processes for ensuring that the most suitable person is appointed. We check that they are available, competent, free from conflicts, have transparent and reasonable fees and adhere to our Customer Charter.

The DRS Consultancy Approach

We work with our clients on a collaborative, three stage basis:

  1. We gain a detailed understanding of our client’s needs and wants
  2. We use our knowledge and expertise to propose how these could be met
  3. Working with our client, we test these proposals against the reality of their business environment

Once these three stages are completed, we form a unique service tailored to the needs of the client and their business

Contact the DRS team

RICS Dispute Resolution Service
55 Colmore Row
B3 2AA

Call: +44 (0) 20 7334 3806

Email us