Most of us have heard the term “green building.” It’s a bit vague and imprecise. You can get a third party to rate a structure as having met a points scheme and then you may feel more justified to label it. We can also talk about “sustainable building practices,” but there are dozens of definitions and debates when you try to clarify what you mean by “sustainable.” But what about how the building performs, how it feels to the folks occupying it, or for that matter, did the contractors feel good about being involved in the design and assembly of it? Artisan Associates’ mission is to change the way people experience buildings, from concept, through construction, to the use of it, as well as the maintenance of it. It’s a simple idea that people should have positive experiences with our buildings.
We apply some traditional skills and methods to this through consulting, training, and hands-on contracting. What may be a bit more novel is our bringing mediation as part of our toolkit on construction projects. Sometimes there are disagreements or disputes that arise from misunderstandings or miscommunications. Conflicts flare up all the time—it might be between the architect and the couple planning their dream home or it might be between the general contractor and the electrician. These disputes can grow until they sour the participants’ involvement in the project and may spread that dissatisfaction to others at the work site, like subcontractors who weren’t directly part of the issue. Mediation can repair the miscommunication and get the construction project back on the path to being a rewarding experience. It is far more productive to use mediation and actively participate in solving your construction dispute rather than for it to escalate into litigation that is time consuming, and expensive. Consider keeping control of your project by controlling the settling of your dispute. If you choose to litigate, you surrender your ability to control the outcome because you’re asking for a ruling from a judge or a verdict from a jury. Keep your project on the right track, resolve disputes through mediation, and lay the foundation for a healthy, enjoyable built environment.