Construction Disputes in Small to Medium Enterprises in Ireland during Recession: Identification of Critical Factors

David Treacy, John P. Spillane, Paul Tansey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose - To identify the critical factors causing construction disputes in Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ireland during the recent recession period of 2007 to 2013.
    Design/Methodology/Approach - A mixed method approach incorporating a literature review, case studies and questionnaire survey, with results analysed using exploratory (data reduction) factor analysis.
    Findings - The results indicate seven core critical factors which result in construction disputes in SMEs in Ireland during a recession: Payment and extras; Physical work conditions; Poor financial/legal practise; Changes to the agreed scope of works; Time overrun; Defects; and Requests for increase in speed of project and long-term defects.
    Research Limitations/Implications - With Ireland emerging from the current economic recession and the prevalence of SMEs to the construction sector, it is essential to document the core critical factors of construction disputes which emerge within this particular segment of the built environment.
    Practical Implications - To address the adversarial nature of the construction sector and the prevalence of SMEs, it is essential to identify and document the critical factors of construction disputes within this remit. It is envisaged that the results of this research will be acknowledged, and the recommendations adopted, by construction SMEs, particularly within Ireland, as they emerge from the economic recession.
    Originality/Value - This paper fulfils a gap in knowledge with the emergence of the economic recession and the identification of critical factors of construction dispute within SMEs in the Irish construction industry.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-41
    JournalInternational Journal of Law and the Built Environment
    Issue number1
    Early online date07 Mar 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Construction disputes
    • Small to medium enterprise
    • Recession
    • SME
    • Ireland
    • Factor analysis

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