Delivering Dispute Free Projects – Does Partnering Help?

A research perspective issued by the Navigant Construction Forum™


Subsequent to the issuance of the three–part series, Delivering Dispute Free Construction Projects, and the more recent report, A Crystal Ball — Early Warning Signs of Construction Claims & Disputes, the Navigant Construction Forum™ was asked to look into project partnering to determine whether partnering can help deliver a dispute free project. The Navigant Construction Forum™ performed an in–depth analysis of available literature to determine whether there is any empirical data to support the strengths and the weaknesses of partnering.

Based upon the literature search conducted by the Navigant Construction Forum™ and the author’s personal experience, collaboratively partnered projects generally implement the following:

  • Implement partnering as a continuous process from project initiation to project completion
  • Create a partnering charter and hold all parties accountable
  • Establish a monthly partnering survey to determine what is working and what is not, and take corrective action, as needed
  • Constantly promote a culture change on the project
  • Hold project level participants accountable for making timely decisions
  • Involve all project stakeholders in the partnering workshops
  • Do not let project issues go unresolved, use the project’s dispute resolution process
  • Hold weekly meetings as they are an important part of the partnering process
  • Keep the entire project team committed to and focused on “project success”

Projects managed in this manner meet all five elements the Navigant Construction Forum™ believes should be the goals of a successful project – delivered safely, on time, in budget, meeting the quality standards of the contract documents, and dispute free at the end of the project. The literature search and the author’s experience leads the Navigant Construction Forum™ to conclude that collaborative partnering, successfully implemented can and does help deliver dispute free projects. 

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