Conflict of Interest

In the questing below I believed that the answer should be “A mediator” because the electrical drawings were not code compliant and the Electrical Engineer is under the Architect. Therefor, I believed this to be a conflict of interest. Please explain to me why I am wrong. Thank you!

The main shut-off switch was not shown on the electrical drawings. The contractor submits a change order for the cost of the code-required switch. The owner disputes the charges and says the contractor should pay for the switch.

Who shall be the first to attempt to resolve the conflict?

The architect
Correct. The architect is named the Initial Decision Maker by default in the AIA series of contracts. This means the architect is the first to resolve any disputes between the owner and the contractor.

An arbitrator
Incorrect. It is the architect. Arbitration may be done after mediation if the mediation did not resolve the issues.

A jury
Incorrect. It is the architect.

A mediator
Incorrect. It is the architect. Going before a mediator would be the next method of dispute resolution.

Hi there @janelc27. Per our AIA contracts, the architect is the IDM or Initial Decision Maker. You’re correct in acknowledging that the electrical engineer is a subcontractor to the architect. Our role would be to initially attempt to resolve the conflict, both because our own subcontractor is potentially at fault (attempting to maintain healthy client relationships), and because we’re the IDM (contractual role). If we cannot resolve the issue, then it would need to go through the mediator or arbitrator. If the issue has to be negotiated through an arbitrator or through litigation, then our role would become a conflict of interest due to the legal action that would follow.

1 Like