Building/Contract Adjudication

What is Adjudication?

Since the coming into force of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (and the subsequent Construction Contracts (NI) Order 1997), more commonly referred to as The Construction Act, it has been the statutory right of all parties to contracts which operate within the construction industry to bring disputes to Adjudication. As a result of the legislation, Adjudication as a means of resolving disputes is now a statutory right to any contracting party involved in engaging or providing construction services.

The process is designed to be a fast track way of resolving disputes, albeit in a temporarily binding manner, with a view to maintaining the cash flow of the parties (and the industry as a whole) and allowing them to have a decision on their dispute made by an independent third party.

The process

  1. Notice of Adjudication (Notice) – An adjudication may be commenced by either party upon the crystallisation of a dispute at any time by issuing a Notice to the other party;
  2. Appointment of the Adjudicator – either by agreement between the parties or by an Adjudicator Nominating Body. Adjudicator nominating bodies will charge a fee for this, normally in the region of £400.00
  3. Referral Notice (Referral) – The adjudication timetable commences upon the service of the Referral. This must be issued to the Adjudicator (and to the other party) no later than 7 days after the date of the Notice. This provides a detailed narrative of the disputed matter and is accompanied by all relevant documents that the Referring Party may wish to rely upon.
  4. Adjudicator sets the timetable – Upon receipt of the Referral, the Adjudicator will likely set the timetable for the Adjudication in accordance with the contract or at his/her discretion. This will allow for a Response from the Responding Party, a Reply to this Response, further submissions, and consider the need for site meeting or party meetings.
  5. The Adjudicator’s Decision – the Decision is to be issued within 28 days of the Referral, this may be extended by the agreement of the Referring Party up to 42 days with any additional extension requiring the agreement of both parties.

Why use Adjudication?

Sometimes referred to as ‘rough justice’, the primary reason for the success of adjudication is the speed of obtaining an independent decision on a disputed matter. The process was designed for ease of use by contracting parties however it is strongly advised that before commencing any action that you receive advice from someone with relevant expertise.

What can Elemental Provide?

With more than 15 years of experience resolving construction-related disputes, Elemental Director, Jarlath Kearney is an accredited and highly respected ADR professional who can guide clients through the Adjudication process.

Drawing upon a wealth of knowledge and experience including construction, quantity surveying, commercial management, law and ADR, Elemental can provide a range of key services to clients whether they are ‘Referring’ or ‘Responding’. These services include:

  • General guidance and advice on the step by step process of Adjudication
  • Drafting a Notice of Adjudication
  • Drafting a Referral Notice
  • Drafting Responses, Replies or Rejoinders
  • Advocacy and party representation

As a Chartered Quantity Surveyor with an RICS PG Diploma in Adjudication, Jarlath’s knowledge and skill base when it comes to Construction Adjudication is second to none. He is also a member, and Regional Convenor, of the Adjudication Society (Northern Ireland Branch) and as such, remains at the forefront of developments in Construction Adjudication. Such experience and commitment to this form of ADR is invaluable to Elemental clients.