The Digitalization of the UAE Construction Industry and its Impact on Dispute Resolution

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Disputes are an unavoidable aspect of the construction sector, despite employing various mechanisms for dispute avoidance and resolution. These conflicts consume a significant portion of stakeholders' time, effort and resources. This is primarily due to the construction industry's dependence on conventional record-keeping and process methods. This dissertation focuses on outlining dispute resolution methodologies – with a focus on alternative dispute resolution - that prevail in UAE Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry and how the latter can be improved by digitalizing of standard working practices in the industry and the dispute resolution process. The target is to bring in picture the opportunities and challenges posed by the digitalization of the AEC. The AEC industry has lagged in digitization compared to other sectors. However, given the advent of new technologies and its integration into dispute prevention and resolution processes in AEC has introduced a new area of digital engineering, extending beyond design. Tools like Building Information Modelling (BIM), Digital Twin (DT), and Smart Contracts (SC) are among the most promising of the vast information technology tools that are available to facilitate fair risk distribution, enhance transparency, efficiency, and foster collaboration. Nevertheless, it is essential to emphasize that these tools should not supplant any human involvement in the project; rather, they should augment human efficiency in conflict prevention and dispute resolution. Digitalization of AEC industry has the potential to revolutionize the real estate sector, but harnessing its benefits necessitates a transformative shift within the industry itself. To unlock the full potential of AEC digitalization, professionals must adapt to its capabilities and integrate them into their operations. To that end, this dissertation makes a number of recommendations for companies and policy-makers to foster a culture of efficiency through innovation. Embracing this technological evolution is essential for the UAE construction industry and individual companies to stay competitive and to meet the evolving demands of the modern AEC industry landscape.
construction sector, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Building Information Modelling (BIM), Digital Twin (DT), Smart Contracts (SC)