Whether we are representing a client, discussing the terms of an agreement with a sub-contractor, trying to get a better price from material suppliers, or trying to resolve a dispute, negotiation skills are at the epicenter of what we do. This is why KEN International has invested time and resources in honing the negotiation skills of our people, as we need to ensure that contract negotiation is always reaching the terms that maximize our clients’ benefits. So, how do negotiations work exactly in construction?
Our key approach is to get prepared for what we are about to negotiate by analyzing all available information and relevant data. This enables us to lay out a specific negotiation plan that will reside in an equally specified negotiation context. As the contracting party, our goals are to lower the project risks (cost and delays), achieve high-quality results from the work of subcontractors, and have everything done according to the defined timelines and schedule limitations. While this all sounds a bit self-evident, it really isn’t. The complexity that derives from the conflicting interests and priorities of the various negotiating parties are often leading to dead-ends that cannot always be resolved through effective communication and a thorough understanding of the dynamics.
This is precisely where our expertise comes into play, as our approach may even prevent this negotiation derailment from happening in the first place. By getting prepared beforehand, we are identifying the common ground between all parties and focus on areas of equal interest. If we can make proposals that will increase the value for everyone, we place them as high priorities. Next, we are highlighting our open approach to everyone and share our plan and estimations so as to establish a level of realism. This helps contain those who are aggressive negotiators and want to take advantage of a situation or opportunity to maximize their own gain. By setting a realistic context that everyone accepts, work items that correlate to time, quality, and cost, can be negotiated on a fair basis.
Finally, we ensure that for the construction projects that we manage, we remain the key holders. As we utilize our project management software for document development, communication, and collaboration, all other parties are relying upon us and our undeniable transparency and accountability. By drafting the contracts ourselves, we ensure that all legal details of claims management and risk planning are taken care of without discounts or omissions. Once the project is completed and we have to deal with pending claims that haven’t been resolved during the construction stage, we proceed to a “minimum compromise” negotiation in order to mitigate legal court costs while retaining a low number of awarded claims, so our clients’ financial encumbrance is kept at the lowest possible level.