Construction Disputes and Litigation

Construction projects are often complex, with several different parties involved and wide scope for difficulties to arise. Early intervention by legal experts in the construction sector often means a dispute can be resolved before it escalates.

At Thornton Jones, our construction team have experience in dealing with disputes in construction projects of all sizes, negotiating where possible to reach a resolution without the need for court action.

Our construction dispute resolution expertise includes:

Where agreement cannot be reached, we will put together a strong case on your behalf and ensure that you have expert representation for any hearing.

Talk to our construction dispute solicitors today

For expert advice, please speak to our breach of contract solicitors at our offices in WakefieldOssettGarforth or Sherburn in Elmet, West Yorkshire.

Have a quick question or want to request a call back? Use our online enquiry form.

Our expertise with construction disputes and litigation

Construction delays

Delay or disruption in a construction project can have a knock-on effect, causing problems to other parties and other areas of the project. We will work with you to identify the best solution to enable the project to proceed, where possible. Alternatively, we can discuss the issue of losses and compensation if the delay cannot be dealt with in any other way.

Defective works

Defects are a frequent cause of dispute and litigation in the construction industry. They could be caused by deficiencies in design, materials, workmanship or because of incorrect specifications.

The contractor is bound to complete a project under the terms of the contract, generally in a proper and workmanlike manner, remedying defects that arise.

Where defects are disputed or the contractor refuses to rectify them, we can step in to represent you in bringing legal action to enforce your rights.

Design flaws

The contract should set out who is responsible for the design of a building so that you can identify whether it is a failure on the part of the building company or designer.

Depending on the circumstances, either party could have liability, as even if the contractor is not expressly bound to check the design, they may be expected to highlight design problems if it would be obvious to a reasonably competent contractor that the design was likely to be defective.

We can advise you as to where the liability lies and suggest a course of action to remedy the situation.

Failure to properly supervise works

If the work is subcontracted, the main contractor will still be liable for their obligations, even if a breach is carried out by the subcontractor rather than the main contractor themselves.

There may also be liability on the part of any architect where they have taken on the responsibility of checking progress but subsequently failed to properly supervise the works.

Contractor claims for delays or changes to the scope of work

Liability for delay generally depends on the wording of the contract. The employer may be able to claim liquidated or general damages where completion is later than stipulated, although there may be a clause in the contract allowing the contractor extra time to finish the agreed work.

Late payment and non-payment of fees

The contract will provide details of when payments are due and what will happen in the event that they are unpaid or paid late, however a contractor can also rely on legislation in claiming outstanding amounts and interest. We can advise you on your rights and make a claim on your behalf to ensure you receive the funds you are entitled to.

Recovering payment for incomplete or inadequate work

Where work is of a poor standard or has not been completed, you should be able to have some or all of your money refunded. If this is not forthcoming, we can put together evidence of the problems on your behalf and make a legal claim.

Our construction dispute resolution methods

We always aim to resolve issues without recourse to the courts wherever possible. This is generally a faster option and more cost-effective. It also has the advantage that a beneficial commercial relationship can sometimes be salvaged.

Early intervention is important, so that the issues can be addressed before the situation deteriorates and positions become entrenched. There are various options that can be used to resolve a construction dispute, depending on the circumstances.

Letter before action

A letter before action sent by a solicitor is often effective in focusing minds on the problem and settling an issue quickly.

Beyond this, we will set out the facts of the case, the legislation which applies, any relevant contract points and the outcome that you wish to achieve. We will enter into negotiations with the other party or their solicitor to try and agree on a way forward. If this is not possible, the next step is generally alternative dispute resolution.


In mediation, a neutral mediator will work with all the parties to help them try and find an acceptable solution. We can provide a trained mediator and also advise you on the terms of any proposed agreement so that you can be sure your interests are protected.


At Thornton Jones, we are one of the few firms in the region able to offer this highly effective dispute resolution process. A trained and expert arbitrator will review the situation and provide a legally binding decision.


We can also advise and represent you through the process of adjudication for construction disputes. A third-party adjudicator will also provide a decision that is binding, unless subsequently revised by arbitration or litigation.

Construction litigation

Where agreement cannot be reached, your dispute may need to go to a court hearing. We will make sure you have the strongest possible case and provide expert representation. We will make sure that you understand the process and that we are available throughout to answer your questions and provide the advice and guidance that you need.

For more information about our services, see our dispute resolution page.

Our construction dispute resolution fees

Fixed fee dispute construction dispute resolution

For some types of dispute resolution work, we can offer fixed fees. This will normally cover a specific piece of work, such as drafting and sending a letter before action or providing an individual session of mediation.

Hourly rates for our construction dispute resolution solicitors

Our dispute resolution fees are between £190 and £250 per hour plus VAT depending on the nature of the work and the level of expertise required of your solicitor.

Our legal assistants’ fees are between £100 to £145 per hour plus VAT. Fees for our Trainee Solicitors & Paralegals are £150 and £190 plus VAT per hour.

We bill in regular instalments and can, subject to your circumstances, agree a monthly payment plan in which interest is charged at 8% on outstanding balances.

All fees are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.

Conditional fee agreements for construction disputes

For some types of disputes, we may be able to offer conditional fee agreements covering all or part of our fees. This means that part or all of our fees would only be applied if and when we secure a favourable outcome for you.

Learn more about our fees and funding.

Contact our construction disputes and litigation solicitors in West Yorkshire

For expert advice on construction dispute resolution or litigation, speak to one of our lawyers in our offices in WakefieldOssettGarforth or Sherburn in Elmet, West Yorkshire today.

Have a quick question or want to request a call back? Use our online enquiry form and one of our team will contact you promptly.