Q & A Table of Contents
From: Engineer, Hong Kong
Question: I'm looking for negotiation models for handling different construction claims. I've figured out some sources of claims associated with civil engineering projects in Hong Kong, as follows:
* Unclear documentation*
* Inadequate site investigation*
* Inadequate documentation*
* Late (or inadequate ) instructions*
* Variations (Employer / Engineer initiates variations only)*
* Third party interference*
* Measurement - related issues*
* Delayed (non-) possession of site*
* Specification problems*
* Inclement weather*
* Payment issues*
* Alternative design*
* Latent defects*
* Time extension assessment*
I would very much appreciate it if you could kindly send me some information about negotiation models. Thank you for your kind attention.
Response: Thank you for your note with its questions about negotiation models relating to different kinds of disputes. You have given considerable, very impressive analytical thought to the issues.
We do not believe in specific models for negotiating specific kinds of issues. Each negotiation depends on a variety of issues, so that even a problem arising from weather delays, for example, may be amenable to a multiplicity of different approaches depending on the contract, who the parties are, the nature of the parties' relationship, the extent to which deadlines or timely performance is a central issue, etc. It is dangerous to assume that all 'weather delay' issues can only be approached from a single angle. In English, an early lesson one needs to learn is that when we assume, we risk making an 'ass of u and me'.
Negotiation is quite different from flying an airplane. A pilot must go through a precise pre-flight process before taking off. There is no room for varying that process. A good negotiator, on the other hand, understands that the process involves a continuous series of choices as to strategy and tactics. Being locked into one strategy or set of tactics to implement that strategy weakens a negotiator's capacity to reach wise solutions in an efficient manner.
Good luck and good negotiating, Steve.