Construction dispute reduction through an improved contracting process in the Canadian context
This thesis presents a new approach to construction contracting in North America. This new approach is referred to as the New Canadian Contracting Method (NCCM). It has been developed as a result of research into the existing contracting process used in North America generally and in Canada specifically. The NCCM addresses four main issues that were identified in the research, namely: confrontational construction; dispute resolution problems and costs; the project execution team selection process; completion of contracts. The NCCM addresses these issues without being prescriptive or by attempting to address one party's agenda over another. This is because these two approaches have been common to previous and unsuccessful attempts at addressing these issues. The new contracting method proposes the following four elements. First the designer and contractor are selected on a qualification basis. The designer and the contractor may be brought on to the project team at a time when the contractor can add to constructability by having input into production of the working drawings. Second, a commercial risk evaluation process is introduced as a part of the negotiation or tendering stage. This approach is innovative, and allows both the owner and the contractors to have input to the identification and allocation of risk in the contract. Third the administration of the contract involves a Proactive Mediation Process that is designed to reduce the incidence of conflict and lower or eliminate conflict resolution costs. Fourth the close-out of contracts is formalized with a process for realigning the completion of the contract. This is done by reassigning outstanding obligations to the best advantage of all parties. The draft process was tested for validity. The consensus was that, with some modifications (included in the thesis), the NCCM could be useful to the Canadian construction industry.