While implementing construction contracts, adversarial relationships between government
individuals and contractors have traditionally been a problem. Such relations lead to
unresolved conflicts, unnecessary delays, and even costly litigation — circumstances both
sides want to avoid.
One solution is Partnering: a structured approach to working together in the interest of a
project. The idea was first introduced in the Corps of Engineers by Dan Burns, former
chief of Construction Division in Alabama’s Mobile District (current chief of Construction,
Operations and Readiness Division at the Headquarters). It has quickly spread throughout
the public and private sector and has placed the Corps on the foreground of dispute
avoidance and resolution. While the concept was originally applied to construction
contracts, it is now being used to improve business relationships across the broad spectrum
of Corps work.
relationships to achieve a cooperative, team approach and to avoid disputes. Partnering
nurtures trust, open communication, collaborative problem- solving, equity, and a common
advantages as a result of teamwork, and greater job satisfaction. Partnering is also seen by
many as a more ethical way of doing business.
improve cooperation and communication.
government and the contractor.
a top management person on both sides to instill the Partnering ethic throughout and a
“managing partner” to nurture cooperation from the bottom up.
develop dispute resolution methods, and get buy-in to the implementation plan. The
workshop must strengthen the ability of participants to communicate as a team. Conflict
management and problem- solving skills are included.
awards ceremonies, and debriefing sessions.
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