By: Len Bunton, FRICS FCIArb, Hon FRIAS, Chair of the RICS Conflict Avoidance Process, Scotland Working Group

As the construction industry slowly comes out of the pandemic, consultants, contractors, and their supply chain have much to deal with. Problems loom in the form of labour shortages, the increasing costs of materials, coupled with further issues over the availability of supplies of materials, and now the issues caused by the increasing costs of professional indemnity insurance, affecting the whole industry, and the actual impact of which is not yet fully clear.

However, there is one very positive issue I am happy to comment on – the increasing industry support and commitment to the RICS Conflict Avoidance Pledge – CAP. This is the early intervention into issues to prevent construction disputes. Who would not support such a process?

In Scotland, the RICS has set up a CAP Working Group which includes people spanning all sectors of the industry. So far, we have involvement from NHS, SFT, local authorities, the University sector, Tier 1 contractors, the supply chain, and leading PM/QS firms. There has been superb support from the RICS, the CICV Forum, SELECT, SNIPEF, CECA, Scottish Building Federation, BESA and the Federation of Master Builders.

So – how does this CAP work in process?

Firstly, the Industry needs to respond and commit to the process, and they can do that by signing the RICS Conflict Avoidance Pledge. You can Google this, and you can see the organisations and individuals who have committed to the Pledge. So far, around 55 organisations and individuals have signed the Pledge, in Scotland, and the Working Group will aim to have at least 200 signatories by the end of 2021. After you sign the Pledge, the Working Group will make contact to assist you with developing the process in your organisations and will provide you with various guidance documents.

So – where are we in Scotland on this?

A major input has come from the NHS who have included the CAP in their five-year, £650 million frameworks and this involves five of our Tier 1 contractors. Scottish Futures Trust HubCos have signed the Pledge. There is a long way to go, but thankfully the Industry in Scotland is responding to a very positive process to avoid construction disputes. I am convinced that this will have a significant impact on mitigating construction disputes, resolving contractual and payment issues on sites, and creating a much more collaborative focus on procuring and delivering construction projects in Scotland.

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