Construction disputes and associated contractual knowledge discovery using unstructured text-heavy data: Legal cases in the United Kingdom

Jeehee Lee, Youngjib Ham, June Seong Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Construction disputes are one of the main challenges to successful construction projects. Most construction parties experience claims—and even worse, disputes—which are costly and time-consuming to resolve. Lessons learned from past failure cases can help reduce potential future risk factors that likely lead to disputes. In particular, case law, which has been accumulated from the past, is valuable information, providing useful insights to prepare for future disputes. However, few efforts have been made to discover legal knowledge using a large scale of case laws in the construction field. The aim of this paper is to enhance understanding of the multifaceted legal issues surrounding construction adjudication using large amounts of accumulated construction legal cases. This goal is achieved by exploring dispute-related contract terms and conditions that affect judicial decisions based on their verdicts. This study builds on text mining methods to examine what type of contract conditions are frequently referenced in the final decision of each dispute. Various text mining techniques are leveraged for knowledge discovery (i.e., analyzing frequent terms, discovering pairwise correlations, and identifying potential topics) in text-heavy data. The findings show that (1) similar patterns of disputes have occurred repeatedly in construction-related legal cases and (2) the discovered dispute topics indicate that mutually agreed upon contract terms and conditions are import in dispute resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9403
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article was published with support from the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Construction dispute
  • Contract management
  • Knowledge discovery
  • Text mining


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