Investigating alternative dispute resolution methods and the implementation thereof by architectural professionals in South Africa

  • Tariene Wilcocks Tshwane University of Technology
  • Jacques Laubscher Tshwane University of Technology
Keywords: South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP), alternative dispute resolution (ADR), litigation

Abstract

Given the number of role players and the complexity of the building process, disputes are inevitable. As an alternative to litigation, which is often costly and time consuming, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods could be used. Arbitration, mediation, negotiation and adjudication are a few examples of ADR and, if understood correctly and implemented effectively, ADR could prove beneficial to all parties involved in disputes. This article investigates the current knowledge, implementation and benefits of ADR within the South African built environment. The focus population of the study is architectural professionals, as defined by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP). A questionnaire was distributed among 581 architectural professionals to determine how informed these architectural professionals are about the different ADR methods, their implementation and resultant consequences. majority of the respondents are not familiar with the term ADR and could not provide a clear definition; 69.4% of architectural professionals do not discuss ADR methods with their client before entering into an agreement, and 58.4% of the population have hardly any or no knowledge regarding the methods and benefits of ADR. These observations indicate that a significant portion of architectural professionals are currently in breach of the SACAP Code of Conduct and could potentially lose their professional license. These results indicate a possible way forward to facilitate a larger implementation of ADR in future building projects. The real-world problem is that architectural professionals do not apply ADR methods because of the lack of knowledge regarding the implementation and benefits of ADR. It is considered that the unique contribution of this article lies in the fact that all architectural professionals in South Africa were asked to participate in the survey regarding ADR, its methods, implementations, and their knowledge thereof. This is the first evidence of many anecdotal statements made on the lack of implementation and knowledge regarding ADR methods within the architectural profession of South Africa. The findings reveal that the majority of the respondents are not familiar with the term ADR and could not provide a clear definition; 69.4% of architectural professionals do not discuss ADR methods with their client before entering into an agreement, and 58.4% of the population have hardly any or no knowledge regarding the methods and benefits of ADR.
These observations indicate that a significant portion of architectural professionals are currently in breach of the SACAP Code of Conduct and could potentially lose their professional license. These results indicate a possible way forward to facilitate a larger implementation of ADR in future building projects.

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Published
2017-12-31
Section
Review articles