Services » Construction Claims

A few years ago, at a talk on construction dispute resolution, the final question was given to an architect in the room. She didn't ask a question, instead she admonished the room for being so obsessed with disputes, and made the observation that the purpose of the construction industry is to build things, not to fight over money.

A lot of people nodded wisely in agreement with her. I looked at her and them incredulously.

The purpose of 90% of the construction industry (developers, builders, sub contractors, engineers, quantity surveyors, and most architects) is to make money, plain and simple. They are no more interested in building things than a sweet manufacturer is in feeding sweets to children. They chose the construction industry as the means to support themselves and their families.

Having settled that - the way to make money in the construction industry is to get paid as much as possible, while paying out as little as possible. There are two controlling factors in how much a party gets paid and how much they pay out. The most obvious of these being the contract they entered into and also the law governing contracts and certain other matters in Ireland. There is another very important factor that brings an element of the control into this matter, the need to build and maintain a good reputation as a fair dealer. It is the balancing of these two rights that needs to be carefully managed in a small construction industry such as exists in Ireland, this applies equally to the payer and the recipient.

Arising from the above, when disputes do arise, the claims require careful consideration before a party goes down the route of commencing ADR proceedings or litigating.

As a barrister with 17 years experience as a Quantity Surveyor before entering the legal profession, I am available to discuss the best course of action for parties to a potential dispute under a construction contract, as well as to advise them on the merits of any claim.

As part of the above I often advise parties of potential claims they may not already be aware of, leaving it up to them to collate the information in order to present such claims.

Forum Advice

There is often more than one available forum open to an initiating party depending on how they from their case. Choosing the correct forum is a very important first step to maximise the possibility of success.

Delay and Disruption

Delay and disruption claims are among the most contentious aspects of construction claims. In addition they can often vastly overtake the cost of the variations, at no apparent value to the client. It is for this reason that they are examined in a little more detail here and also are covered by a paper in the publications section of the website: Delay and Disruption Claims March 2014


Variations are common to all construction contracts with the limited exception of guaranteed maximum price contracts, and even in these contracts the main contractor has the issue of variations with its sub-contractors. It is for this reason that variations are beyond the scope of a few lines on this website. Ultimately variations are the speciality of Quantity Surveyors and construction professionals. Enter here for more information.

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