CRC launches national dispute avoidance taskforce for construction sector

The CRC is a national research, development and implementation centre focused on Australia’s building and construction industry.According to CRC chief executive Dr Keith Hampson, disputes are potentially costing the Australian economy billions.However, there are no hard figures, with most available information anecdotal and broad, Dr Hampson said.The CRC taskforce will consult with key stakeholders to identify the national cost, extent and impact of construction site disputes.“The research will be used to produce an industry-wide Best Practice Toolkit for dispute avoidance,” he said.Chairing the taskforce is Connell Wagner’s chief operating officer Tony Barry.Also on the taskforce are former building and construction industry Royal Commissioner Terence Cole and representatives from the Australian Procurement and Construction Council, Civil Contractors Federation, Australian Constructers Association, the Built Environment Design Professions and state road agencies.“The research and outcomes of this project will focus on relationships at critical contractor/sub-contractor level as well as the head contractor/owner relationship,” Dr Hampson said.Research teams from Curtin University in Western Australia and RMIT in Victoria have begun investigating and interviewing industry representatives across the country.“Our targeted outcome is identifying the root causes of disputes and developing practical industry strategies to avoid disputes,” taskforce chairman Tony Barry said.“One of our key aims is to establish a better understanding of the real costs resulting from disputes on construction projects. There is a lot of speculation, but very few hard facts,” Barry said.The cost of disputes is high, taking potential investment away from education and health care, as well as other community initiatives, Dr Hampson said.A draft Best Practice Toolkit is expected early next year, and the CRC is calling for industry feedback.

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