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Construction Mediation Attorney in Los Angeles, California

Construction contract disputes are not uncommon. For example, the party that hires the construction company may accuse the latter of failing to deliver on the contract as promised. Conversely, the construction company may grow weary of the client’s failure to pay what they owe, when they owe it.  

Conflicts can become extremely heated, leading to a halt in progress on the project. When everything comes to a standstill, what are the options for either party?  

Litigation is a common choice. However, it can be incredibly expensive and take years to resolve issues in court. Mediation can prove to be a valuable tool to avoid litigation or arbitration, help the parties reach an agreement both can live with, and allow a project to continue moving forward to completion.  

At Builders Law Group, Inc., we represent construction clients in Los Angeles, California, and throughout the counties of Ventura, Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino, and San Diego. The goal of everyone involved is to finish projects they started. If you are involved in a construction contract dispute, we can help you reach that goal.  

Why Is Construction Mediation Necessary? 

The best way to nip contract disagreements in the bud is to discuss them as they arise and attempt to resolve them on your own or with the help of your construction law attorney. In some disputes, however, you cannot reach a resolution, and the argument escalates, affecting your relationship with the client and disrupting progress on the job. 

Construction mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process that allows parties to use a neutral mediator to facilitate a compromise agreement that both parties can live with. Mediation is non-binding, meaning neither party is required to agree to a compromise, but its informality and structure can be an effective tool to avoid going to court.  

Disputes vary but common ones include disagreements such as: 

  • site selection; 

  • project finishes; 

  • the quality of materials and work; 

  • timely payments; 

  • work schedules; and, 

  • delays.  

Many construction contracts include mediation clauses, requiring that parties to the contract participate in mediation to resolve disputes before filing a lawsuit. Even if the contract doesn’t specify it, mediation can be a great option if initial negotiations fail.  

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What Happens at Mediation? 

If you and the other party agree to mediation, your first task will be to hire a mediator. The mediator should be experienced, preferably in mediating similar issues, and should have no conflicts of interest. This professional must be neutral, or the process will likely fail.  

Although you do not have to be represented by an attorney during mediation, doing so is wise. Your attorney will help you select a neutral mediator with relevant experience, counsel you on legal issues during the process, and help you consider the value of a compromise compared to the cost of going to court.  

Next, you and the other party will set ground rules for mediation. The mediator may have some ground rules as well, but in the end, how the process will proceed will be established.  

The mediator will ask each party to present its complaints, evidence, and goals for resolution. Some mediators will have this done with the parties in the same room. Others will keep the parties separate for the duration of mediation. This launch allows the mediator to know precisely how far the parties are apart and indicates what it will take to move them toward an agreement.  

The mediator will then begin meeting with one party, then the other, separately to hear more from each. As the mediator moves back and forth, they will begin weighing in on the strength and weaknesses of the other party’s claims as well as their own. The mediator will discuss strengths and weaknesses and begin recommending compromises in their initial demands. This process can go on for hours or even days.  

The mediator’s goal is to move both parties toward mutual agreement. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will draft it and ask both parties to sign it. If, however, a party will not agree to any compromise and mediation fails, they can still take the arbitration or litigation route.  

Mediation agreements are not upheld in court should the parties end up in litigation. That is because the mediator has latitude a judge does not, such as allowing disclosure of hearsay and supposition and weighing those in the mediation negotiations.  

How Can I Prepare for Mediation? 

Preparing for mediation is important. Begin by working with a mediation attorney who can help you gather relevant documents and prepare your statement regarding your case and its value. Your attorney is likely to have participated in mediation many times, so they can tell you what to expect, weigh the strength of your case, and gather evidence to support it.  

Mediation also requires that you prepare mentally. You may need to lower anger levels and resentment and plug into the idea of compromise. The hallmark of a successful mediation is that the parties reach an agreement they can live with, even if neither of them are completely happy about it.  

What Are Tips for a Successful Mediation? 

Here are a few tips that could make your mediation work: 

  • Approach it with an openness to compromise. 

  • Make sure you choose not only a neutral mediator, but one who has successfully mediated similar construction disputes.  

  • Be thorough in gathering relevant documents and materials that will support your case. 

  • Work with your mediation attorney to clearly express contested issues and where you stand on them.  

  • Remain calm and digest input the mediator will give you regarding the strengths and weaknesses of your stance.  

  • Listen to your attorney’s input during the mediation process and benefit from your attorney’s experience.  

  • Invite and consider input about how your arguments are likely to fare at trial.  

  • Be willing to agree on compromises involving some issues, even if some of them remain unresolved.  

  • Make decisions during mediation as you would any business decision.  

Construction Mediation Attorney in Los Angeles, California

At Builders Law Group, Inc., we have walked many clients through the mediation process and have seen the benefits when the process is done well. We can help you understand the value of mediation vs. litigation, guide you through it, and provide the information you need to make the decisions you face. If you want to learn more about mediation in Los Angeles, California, or the surrounding areas, call Builders Law Group, Inc., today.