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Avoiding Structural Disputes

by Donald Charrett

Dr Donald Charrett Keynote paper at Australasian Structural Engineering Conference, Melbourne

Successful projects are those in which the three elements of quality, cost and time are appropriately managed so as to fulfil the expectations of the project participants. These issues are central features of every construction contract, and a shortfall perceived by one of the parties in the expected outcome for quality, cost or time can result in a dispute.

The paper reviews the role that management of quality, cost and time have played in the successes and failures of a number of well-known projects from the past. It is suggested that these lessons from the past are equally applicable today, and are still a valuable guide to ways of avoiding disputes in the future.

The paper also highlights the importance of appropriate contractual conditions, and notes certain aspects of contracts which can influence the likelihood of disputation arising from unfulfilled expectations. Suggestions are made for mechanisms that can be implemented to minimise the impact of disputes that do arise.

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