Managing Conflicting Interests Of Different Parties In Building Constructions


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Managing Conflicting Interests Of Different Parties In Building Constructions

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In the construction sector, managing the conflict of interest is crucial as diverse stakeholders, including architects, developers, and general contractors (GCs), often have competing goals and financial interests.

Contractor VS Architect VS Developer

These potential or actual conflicts can hinder a project’s overall success, making it essential to identify and address them early. Effective collaboration and clear communication are increasingly important in navigating the complexities of modern construction projects, ensuring that all parties work towards the shared objective of high-quality, timely, and budget-friendly outcomes.


In managing the conflict of interest in building construction, architects play a pivotal role from the inception to the completion of a project.


Their responsibilities encompass:

  • Design and Technical Specifications: Architects are tasked with the creation of the project’s technical design as outlined in the contract. This includes ensuring that all plans, specifications, and identification responsibilities are prepared accurately.

  • Project Feasibility and Compliance: They assess the design’s theoretical, practical, and realistic feasibility, ensuring that contractors and builders can depend on their architectural expertise. Additionally, architects are responsible for the technical accuracy of documents, reviewing contracts with subcontractors, and ensuring code compliance.

  • Design Execution and Oversight: Architects not only provide the specific design but also ensure its workability and compliance with building codes. They are involved in interpreting documents, reviewing and approving submittals, providing timely responses, and evaluating work as part of payment release provisions. Their role demands diligence, skill, and good judgment, equating to a professional level of competence.

General Contractors (GCs)

General Contractors (GCs) play a crucial role in bridging the gap between the vision of architects and the practicalities of bringing a structure to life.

General contractors

Their responsibilities are multifaceted, often leading to potential conflicts with other stakeholders due to the complex nature of construction projects.

Role and Responsibilities

  • Implementing the project plan as designed by architects.

  • Managing day-to-day site operations.

  • Ensuring compliance with building codes and regulations.

  • Coordinating with subcontractors and suppliers.

  • Overseeing budget and schedule management.

Potential Conflicts

  • With Architects: Disagreements over design feasibility, interpretations of technical specifications, and modifications to original plans.

  • With Developers: Conflicts may arise over budget constraints, project timelines, and the quality of materials or workmanship.

Conflict Resolution Strategies

  • Early Involvement in Design Phase: Engaging GCs during the design phase, through methods like Design-Build or Integrated Project Delivery, can enhance collaboration and reduce conflicts.

  • Open Communication: Establishing clear channels for communication among all parties can preemptively address potential issues.

  • Transparency and Reporting: Regular updates on project progress and challenges help maintain trust and manage expectations.

  • Dispute Resolution Mechanisms: Incorporating tiered dispute resolution clauses in contracts, including management discussions and expert resolution, can provide a structured approach to resolving conflicts.

By understanding the roles and potential areas of conflict for GCs, stakeholders can employ targeted strategies to foster cooperation and ensure project success.


Developers orchestrate the construction process from inception to completion, often navigating through a complex web of responsibilities and potential conflicts.


Their role includes:

  • Project Oversight: Developers oversee operations from feasibility research to project completion, working closely with Project Managers to develop construction management activities, schedules, and regular project tracking for progress reports. This comprehensive oversight ensures the project stays on schedule and budget.

  • Financial Management: They are responsible for the project’s overall budgeting, conducting cost-benefit analyses to enhance business decision processes. Managing all financial aspects throughout the project’s lifecycle is crucial for maintaining fiscal health and achieving project goals.

  • Team Coordination and Site Development

    • Creating Highly Skilled Teams: Developers select a project development team, including general contractors, subcontractors, architects, finance experts, lawyers, interior designers, and other support staff, ensuring a well-rounded and skilled project team.

    • Project Site Development: They consider various factors such as zoning, access to affordable labor, cost of utilities, environmental implications, sustainability, state and local tax structures, size of the surrounding community, and proximity to public and air transportation when selecting a project site.

Developers play a pivotal role in ensuring the project’s success by managing the intricate balance between financial viability, team coordination, and site development, often finding themselves at the intersection of potential conflicts with other stakeholders.

Building Codes and Regulations

Building codes and regulations serve as the backbone of construction projects, ensuring safety, quality, and sustainability.

Building code and regulations

Their role often intersects with the interests of various stakeholders, leading to potential clashes, especially when changes or updates are introduced. Here’s a closer look at their significance:

  • Public Health and Safety: Building codes are essential for safeguarding public health, safety, and environmental protection. They dictate the minimum standards for design, construction, and maintenance, ensuring a building’s long-term quality and safety.

  • Economic and Environmental Impact: Initial design and construction decisions, guided by these codes, significantly affect a building’s operational and maintenance costs over its lifetime. Moreover, model codes offer resilience against natural disasters, terrorism, and climate change, enhancing community sustainability and livability.

  • Legal and Insurance Considerations: Enforced by local government agencies, building codes also provide a baseline for the insurance industry to estimate and manage risk. Compliance helps control or lower insurance premiums, while violations can lead to liability for resulting damages, affecting contractors and developers alike.

Understanding and adhering to these regulations is crucial for all parties involved in construction projects to avoid conflicts and ensure project success.

5 Strategies To Reconcile Conflicting Interests

In managing the conflict of interest in building construction, several strategies can be pivotal in reconciling the varying interests of architects, general contractors (GCs), developers, and other stakeholders involved.

Building Trust and Rapport:

  • Fostering a sense of belonging, loyalty, and commitment among the team and stakeholders is crucial for a harmonious working environment.

  • Techniques such as identifying and analyzing stakeholders, and building trust and relationships are essential in this regard.

Effective Communication and Negotiation:

  • Clear, regular communication sets expectations, provides updates, addresses issues, and solicits feedback, which is vital for project success.

  • Negotiation and compromise, along with active and empathetic listening, asking open-ended questions, and paraphrasing, can help understand different perspectives and resolve disputes.

Conflict Management Methods:

  • Various methods like conciliation, mediation, neutral case evaluation, fact-finding, med-arb, and arbitration, as well as newer options like partnering and step-negotiation, offer structured ways to manage conflicts.

  • Identifying conflicts early and using efficient, cost-effective processes that maintain control and privacy can enhance the business relationship between parties.

Early Collaboration

Early collaboration between architects, general contractors (GCs), and developers is essential for integrating design, construction, and budget considerations efficiently from the project’s inception. This process is facilitated by:

  • Building Information Modelling (BIM): A pivotal tool that integrates knowledge and information related to project plans, designs, construction, and operation, allowing for transparent sharing and access among project parties

  • Relational Governance: Incorporates trust and relational norms to foster knowledge collaboration, crucial for early stages of construction projects.

Benefits of Early Collaboration

  • Innovation and added value for clients through the expertise and knowledge base of the entire project team.

  • Significant reductions in requests for information (RFIs), change orders, and costly rework, thanks to good communication and a solid documentation plan.

  • Enhanced safety, efficiency, and accountability, leading to informed decision-making and reduced waste.

Encouraging early collaboration is not just about bringing parties together but about creating a cohesive environment where innovation thrives, and potential conflicts are minimized.

Clear Communication

In the context of managing conflict of interest in building construction, clear communication plays a pivotal role in harmonizing the divergent objectives of architects, general contractors (GCs), developers, and other stakeholders. The following strategies are essential:

  • Establish a Communication Chain of Command: Designate clear points of contact for different aspects of the project to streamline communication and decision-making processes.

  • Choose the Right Communication Method for the Message: Whether it’s email for formal decisions or instant messaging for quick queries, selecting an appropriate channel can prevent misunderstandings.

  • Active Listening and Clarity

    • Be an Active Listener: Encourage team members to listen actively, ensuring that all concerns are understood before responding.

    • Avoid Confusion, Be Clear and Concise: Clear, straightforward language helps in minimizing misinterpretations and errors.

  • Professional Written Communication

    • Keep Written Communication Professional at All Times: Maintaining professionalism in emails and documents upholds the project’s integrity.

    • Stick to the Facts: Base discussions on factual information to avoid disputes rooted in miscommunication.

  • Encourage Open Dialogue

    • Encourage Two-Way Communication: Promote an environment where feedback is welcomed and considered, fostering a collaborative atmosphere.

    • Keep Communication Clear and Simple: Complex jargon can alienate team members and stakeholders; simplicity ensures inclusivity.

  • Utilize Technology

    • Leverage Tools and Technologies: Use project management software and other digital tools to keep everyone updated in real-time, enhancing coordination.

  • Overcome Barriers

    • Establish Clear Lines of Communication: Ensure everyone knows whom to approach for different issues, reducing delays.

    • Overcome Language Barriers: In multicultural teams, provide translations or clarifications to ensure inclusivity and comprehension.


In the dynamic environment of building construction, flexibility serves as a cornerstone for managing conflicts and ensuring project success. This approach encompasses several key strategies:

Adaptability in Planning and Execution

  1. Utilize the Critical Path Method (CPM) or the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) to distinguish between critical and non-critical activities, allowing for strategic allocation of resources and timing adjustments.

  2. Implement flexible scheduling techniques like rolling wave planning, time-boxing, and resource leveling to adapt to project needs and constraints, ensuring that adjustments in duration, sequence, or resources are seamlessly integrated into the project plan.

Proactive Communication and Problem-solving

  1. Engage stakeholders in collaborative problem-solving to leverage diverse perspectives and expertise, fostering innovative solutions to project constraints.

  2. Maintain open and transparent communication, setting clear expectations, and providing regular updates to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts.

Risk Management and Contingency Planning

  1. Proactively identify and assess potential sources of uncertainty and disruption, preparing contingency plans to mitigate the impact of schedule deviations or failures.

  2. Adopt a collaborative and positive attitude during negotiations, showing flexibility and willingness to make concessions without compromising project quality or integrity.

These strategies emphasize the importance of a flexible approach in managing the conflict of interest in building construction, highlighting the balance between adaptability, effective communication, and proactive risk management.

Knowledge Sharing

Knowledge sharing in the construction sector plays a crucial role in enhancing collaboration and innovation among all parties involved. It involves various activities and practices aimed at transforming knowledge into accessible information, plans, ideas, skills, goals, and insights. Here are key strategies for effective knowledge sharing:

  • Establish Clear Goals and Expectations: Align team members around a common purpose to ensure everyone works towards the same objectives.

  • Implement a Knowledge Management System: Create systems to capture, store, access, and share information and expertise efficiently.

  • Foster a Culture of Feedback and Recognition: Encourage sharing of feedback and recognize contributions to enhance quality, performance, and motivation.

  • Promote Collaboration and Teamwork: Encourage teamwork to generate innovative ideas and solutions, leading to better outcomes.

  • Training and Trust Building: Train the work team at the beginning and during the project. Encourage and reward team efforts while obtaining regular progress reports to build trust and cooperation.


Mediation, as a non-binding dispute resolution method, involves an impartial third party to facilitate negotiations between conflicting parties in construction projects. The process is designed to assist parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement by:

Types of Mediation

  • Facilitative Mediation: Focuses on empowering parties to identify underlying interests and find common ground.

  • Evaluative Mediation: Involves the mediator making impartial assessments to inform parties of likely outcomes, encouraging compromise.

Advantages of Mediation

  • Speed and lower costs compared to litigation or arbitration.

  • Preservation of relationships through open communication and collaboration.

  • Ability to develop creative solutions tailored to the unique needs of the project.

Mediation Process

  • Pre-Session Preparation: Parties work with the mediator to agree on an information exchange process, ensuring a clear understanding of each other’s positions.

  • Understanding ‘Big Picture’ Issues: Identifying key decision-makers and including all necessary entities in the negotiations.

  • Confidentiality Parameters: Ensuring open expression of concerns without external disclosure, fostering trust in the mediation process.

How Vistaza Can Help

In the matter of construction project management, Vistaza emerges as a harmonious solution, addressing the nuanced demands of architects, general contractors (GCs), developers, and the stringent adherence to building codes and regulations.

For further diving into the subject of effective collaboration processes between different parties in building construction, contact Vistaza.

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