Will digitalisation end construction disputes? How digital outputs from drone technology can play a

HKA carried out some research into construction disputes and the role digitalisation can play in solving them. They analysed data and expert opinion on 257 projects, valued at $400bn+, where HKA provided claims consulting and dispute resolution services.

A major challenge in dispute resolution is trying to establish what the facts were on site. Retrieving data has traditionally relied on paper-based site diaries, which site agents can neglect to update, or can fill with inappropriate information.

Sourcing an accurate record of activities carried out and progress of the works after the event is a common problem, but also often the key to unlocking such disputes.

The use of imagery, 2D and 3D digital information from drones throughout a project to record work could be invaluable in such a situation, particularly where both parties buy into, and agree on drone use at the outset of a project (including the frequency of the surveys, the data to be gathered etc.). Where such records are created, it will be harder for the parties to dispute these down the line, this could, in many cases, help avoid disputes in the first place.

The top ten causes of disputes will surprise few. They are, in order:

  • Slow progress

  • Variations

  • Extensions of time

  • Late availability of information/design

  • Change of scope

  • Managing – time

  • Different interpretations of the contract provisions

  • Adversarial culture

  • Design errors/buildability

  • Lack of communication

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