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More than 50 industry groups sign conflict avoidance pledge

The pledge was created by the Conflict Avoidance Coalition Steering Group, which comprises representatives of six professional institutions and two transport and infrastructure firms

The conflict avoidance pledge aims to reduce the number of disputes in the construction and engineering sectors [representational image].
The conflict avoidance pledge aims to reduce the number of disputes in the construction and engineering sectors [representational image].

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has announced the launch of the conflict avoidance pledge, an initiative designed to reduce the number of disputes in the construction and engineering sectors.

The pledge is a “voluntary commitment [to] self-assessment [that is] open to any organisation or firm, regardless of size or location,” RICS said in a statement, adding that it was created by the Conflict Avoidance Coalition Steering Group.

With more than 50 industry bodies having reportedly signed the pledge, the steering group, which aims to reduce the financial costs associated with disputes by promoting cooperation between contracting parties, is looking to encourage other organisations to join.

In addition to RICS, the group consists of senior representatives of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) United Kingdom, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation (DRBF), the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES), Transport for London, and Network Rail.

John Fletcher, RICS product group director for alternative dispute resolution (ADR), commented: “Too often, employers encourage contractors to submit compliant bids for the best price. Contractors, on the other hand, apply a commercial strategy to win the bid.

“Both sides then seek to manage contracts to their terms. The result is a recipe for disputes, which is built into contracts before they even start.”

He continued: “It is only when the industry unites to tackle these all too common issues that we can deliver real change. We look forward to more organisations and companies joining our campaign by signing up to the pledge and making the running of construction and engineering projects, hopefully across the world, more streamlined.”

According to RICS, the pledge is the focal point of a wider campaign created by the steering group to drive behaviour change in the way relationships and disputes are managed throughout the construction and engineering sector. 

The group is in the process of developing a set of guidance manuals and toolkits for organisations, informing them about the value of conflict avoidance techniques, including how to access and implement them. These guides and toolkits will be available to all pledge signatories, RICS added.

Moreover, RICS and DIFC’s Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA) are currently exploring the prospect of providing conflict avoidance services for regional businesses, particularly in the construction and infrastructure sectors.

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