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Navigating Project Pitfalls: Early Detection of Construction Claims and Disputes

By - James G. Zack, Jr., CCM, CFCC, FAACE, FGPC, FRICS, PMP

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Webinar Overview: Recognizing Early Warning Signs of Claims and Disputes in Construction Projects

Claims and disputes in construction projects do not arise out of nowhere. Often, there is a series of events, decisions, or lack thereof that precede a dispute, sometimes stretching back weeks or even years. These preceding events and decisions serve as “early warning signs” of potential claims and disputes. Typically, it is only when claims are filed at the end of a project that attorneys and claims consultants retrospectively identify these warning signs by reviewing project documentation and interviewing team members. Many project team members, in hindsight, express the sentiment, “If only I had recognized that then!”

There is a scarcity of comprehensive literature detailing the early warning signs of pending construction claims and disputes. Drawing from extensive experience as a construction claims consultant, this webinar organizes these early warning signs into the typical phases of a project:

  • Bid or Proposal Phase
  • Initial Contract Phase
  • Construction Phase

This session will also clarify which parties should monitor specific warning signs and the types of claims or disputes that may arise.

Key Areas Covered

Early Warning Signs – Bid and Proposal Stage

  • Warning signs for owners
  • Warning signs for contractors

Early Warning Signs – Initial Contract Phase

  • Warning signs for owners
  • Warning signs for contractors

Early Warning Signs – Construction Phase

  • Warning signs for owners, including:
    • Scheduling issues
    • Change issues
    • Project management issues
    • Field issues

Warning signs for contractors, including:

  • Scheduling issues
  • Change issues
  • Project management issues
  • Field issues

Target Audience

  • Owner and Contractor Project Managers
  • Resident Engineers or Architects
  • Agency Construction Managers
  • Construction Managers at Risk
  • Design Managers
  • Legal Counsel representing owners or contractors

Benefits of Attending

  • Gain a comprehensive list of early warning signs for claims and disputes
  • Understand the division of warning signs across three distinct project phases: Bid or Proposal Phase, Initial Contract
  • Phase, and Construction Phase
  • Learn which parties should be vigilant for specific warning signs
  • Discover the types of claims or disputes that may arise from various warning signs
  • Receive actionable advice on how owners and contractors can address potential claim situations proactively to prevent or resolve disputes


Construction projects are inherently complex and prone to claims and disputes. Modern projects are larger and more intricate than ever, often constrained by tight budgets and demanding schedules. Both owner and contractor project teams are frequently engrossed in numerous tasks required to maintain the schedule, which can cause small issues to escalate into major disputes before they are even recognized. These issues can manifest as project delays, constructive changes, or loss of productivity.

This webinar aims to highlight 75 early warning signs of claims and potential disputes and provide strategies to address these issues promptly and cost-effectively on-site.

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Speaker Detail


James Zack is the Senior Advisor, Ankura Construction Forum™ – the construction industry’s global resource for thought leadership and best practices on avoidance and resolution of construction project disputes globally. Jim was a founder and former Executive Director of the Navigant Construction Forum™. Previously, Executive Director, Corporate Claims Management, Fluor Corporation; Vice President, PinnacleOne and Executive Director, PinnacleOne Institute; and Senior Construction Claims Consultant, CH2M HILL, Inc. With 47 years’ experience, he is a recognized expert in mitigation, analysis and resolution or defense of construction claims. A Fellow of AACE International. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and the Guild of Project Controls, Mr. Zack is a Certified Forensic Claims Consultant, a Certified Construction Manager, and a Project Management Professional as well as an internationally known author and speaker on construction claims.

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