Factors Causing Construction Litigation in Saudi Arabia

Authors: Saud Almutairi (M.S.), Jacob Kashiwagi (PhD), Dean Kashiwagi (PhD, P.E.) and Kenneth Sullivan (PhD)


The problem of litigation and disputes in the construction sector is a major impediment to a country’s development goals. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the problem of high legal costs and long delays that arise due to litigation involving project owners, designers, contractors and other construction parties worldwide and in Saudi Arabia, as well as give recommendation according to the outcomes of this research. The causes of litigious behavior in Saudi Arabia and around the world were identified and documented; also the differences in litigation of the Saudi Arabian construction industry as compared to other countries were identified. Preliminary investigations revealed that there is some level of similarity in the nature of the causes. Thus, these causes were grouped into three main categories, which are expectation factors, communications factors and documentation factors. Further research based on existing literature showed that the practices used to minimize litigation in the construction industry were investigated. The following delivery processes were researched: Design-Build (DB) Delivery Method, Alliance Contracting, Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR), Best Value Model (BVM), Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and the Best Value Performance Information Procurement System (BV PIPS). Many of these delivery methods were found to have issues, which means the methods by observation do not seem to be the ideal solution to minimize litigation in the construction industry. The only delivery method found to have no litigation issues was the BV PIPS approach.

Keywords: Litigation, construction industry, Saudi Arabia, risks.