A ‘Conflict Avoidance Pledge’ designed to help the industry to reduce the cost of disputes on infrastructure projects will be developed following an agreement by the UK’s leading construction and engineering professional bodies.

The pledge will commit signatories to implement conflict avoidance mechanisms and make resources available to embed these into contracts and projects.  It will increase “the understanding and use of conflict avoidance techniques, which help potential disputes to be dealt with early and amicably,” according to a report on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website.  The parties also agreed to provide education on the early identification of issues, collaborative working and conflict avoidance strategies.

The agreement was reached at a roundtable discussion, chaired by Robert Gaitskell QC and attended by RICS, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Institute of Civil Engineers, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation and the International Chambers of Commerce UK.

Transport from London, Network Rail and Highways England told the roundtable about initiatives they had introduced to reduce disputes in major projects.

Construction disputes can delay projects, cause huge reputational damage and entangle parties in costly litigation,” said James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professional Risks.  “The commitment to develop a pledge to reduce conflict is a great idea and we will watch developments with interest.”

A report on the roundtable discussion has been published on the RICS website.