Construction dispute resolution in Ireland during recession: best practice for small to medium enterprises

John Spillane, David Treacy, Ashwini Konanahalli, Lukumon Oyedele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to identify best practice construction dispute resolution in small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) within Ireland during the recent economic recession. A sequential mixed methodology encompassing a detailed literature review, case studies, and questionnaire survey is adopted, with results analyzed using both exploratory (data reduction) and confirmatory (structural equation modelling) factor analysis. The results show that four core aspects should be adopted by SMEs to achieve best practice construction dispute resolution in recession: third-party intervention, adoption of a streamlined process, proactive party characteristics, and the use of legal professionals. Numerous studies of this subject have been conducted; however, no research has been done to date documenting best practice in construction dispute resolution within SMEs, particularly in light of the economic recession in Ireland. It is clear that dispute resolution in Ireland is currently undergoing fundamental changes, and time is necessary to see if the new Construction Contracts Act 2013 will help this practice. Therefore, it is a fundamental requirement for project management and legal professionals to acknowledge the changing environment attributable to the economic downturn and the resultant SME best practices in dispute resolution. This paper fulfills a gap in knowledge with the emergence of the economic recession and the evolution of best practice in dispute resolution within SMEs in the Irish construction sector.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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