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Many construction disputes are avoidable

Posted: 25th January 2023

Mark Silcock



Following the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, the world is striving to return to business as usual. Similar to most other industries, the construction industry experienced disruptions ranging from shutdowns to significant project delays. Once again, the sector is facing further uncertainty as a result of challenging economic conditions leading to rising disputes and claims. In most cases, these disputes are avoidable.

The blame game

When times are tough, companies find ways to ‘get the money in’ by filing disputes, claims, and adjudications. They are desperate to collect everything they are owed. RICS confirms that an increasing number of small to medium enterprises are using adjudication more than once, reflecting a highly litigious industry. Martin Burns from RICS explained that a recession causes adjudication numbers to peak, then drop significantly as the recession hits. These disputes and claims also result in legal fees rising and professional indemnity insurance premiums climbing sharply.

Construction is known for low margins. The culture of the industry needs to shift towards fostering collaboration instead of playing the blame game which inevitably results in disputes and friction.

Mistakes are preventable

Since I began my career in construction 20 years ago. I’ve witnessed many out-of-date paper copy drawings being used on-site time and time again.

Data shows that 1 in 4 of scanned drawings used on-site have been the wrong revision! By using out-of-date drawings, this causes loss of time, money and not to mention, the ever-increasing cost of materials. We’re already mentioned that margins are very tight in the industry, so nobody wants to do something twice and get paid once for it. Studies have shown that reworks in construction typically costs between 2-5% of the overall contract value.

These mistakes can be easily prevented.

A tech-based solution

Over the years, I’ve seen a tremendous amount of time and effort being spent on ever-increasingly complex project models. I became increasingly frustrated when an out-of-date paper copy of a drawing was being used on-site. This is when I had a lightbulb moment and conceived the ReviCheck app idea.

In 2021, I developed the app, ReviCheck. It uses a QR code linked to the BIM model, this gives installers a fast way to clarify that they have the right information.

The ReviCheck app solves two problems.

The first one, it eliminates the issue of a sub-contractor turning up on site with drawings they were issued with months ago. (They were never issued with updated copies.)

The second is that it creates an early warning system, there may be a change to an area happening in the design office. Typically this change could potentially take weeks to get to site in the form of new construction documents. In the meantime, there may be work being carried out in these areas that is abortive work. Scanning the QR code will indicate to the installers that they don’t have the updated design, allowing them to flag this up before continuing.

Will the industry embrace it?

The construction industry is known to be conservative and slow to adopt changes. I think that the Covid-19 pandemic has driven the industry to adopt technology at a much quicker pace which can only be a positive.

What’s next?

The next stage is the development of a ReviCheck plugin for AutoCAD to capture the industry that is not using Revit. Following on from that, there are a number of functions planned for CAD technicians to make their life easier when tracking changes in design.

My vision for the industry is a common data environment that is a single source of truth, instead of a static EDMS (electronic document management system) which the industry currently uses.

Mark Silcock



Mark is the founder of ReviCheck creating clarity in construction