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Construction Disputes in the UAE: Causes and Resolution Methods

El-Sayegh, Sameh
Ahmad, Irtishad
Aljanabi, Malak
Herzallah, Salem
Metry, Samuel
El-Ashwal, Omar
Claims and disputes occur frequently in the construction industry between different contracting parties, mainly the owner, the designer and the contractor. Consequently, valuable time and a significant amount of money are lost. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) construction industry, one of the most vibrant sectors globally, is experiencing a high level of construction disputes and claims. This paper aims to identify and assess the major causes of disputes in the UAE and weigh the effectiveness of the methods used for their avoidance and resolution. The sources of disputes, and their avoidance/resolution methods, were identified through a comprehensive literature review. A survey was then developed and sent to 150 construction professionals. Fifty-four responses were received and analyzed. The results show that the top five sources of disputes in the UAE are variations initiated by the owner, obtaining permit/approval from the municipality and other governmental authorities, material change and approval during the construction phase, the slowness of the owner in decision-making, and the short time available during the design phase. As for the avoidance and the resolution method, the most effective method was found to be negotiation.