In the UK, the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (often referred to as the ‘Construction Act’) gives parties to a construction contract a statutory right, save for a few exceptions, to refer a dispute to adjudication at any time. Disputes can relate to any matter, and be of any value or complexity.
The Construction Act states eight minimum requirements that the adjudication provisions in a construction contract must comply with. These include for appointment of an Adjudicator and referral of the dispute to that Adjudicator within 7 days of the notice of adjudication, and the Adjudicator reaching a decision within 28 days of the referral. The 28 day period can be extended as is agreed by the Parties after referral, or by up to 14 days by the Adjudicator with the consent of the Party referring the dispute. The minimum requirements also state the Adjudicator shall act impartially, and may take the initiative in ascertaining the facts and the law. When a construction contract does not comply with one or more of the eight criteria, the Construction Act provides that the procedures stated in the statutory Scheme for Construction Contracts can be utilised instead. When the Scheme applies, its requirements have the effect of implied terms under the contract.
Since the Construction Act came into force in 1998, adjudication has become widely used in the UK as a means of dispute resolution in the construction industry. It is a quick and relatively inexpensive way of obtaining a decision. The Adjudicator’s decision is temporarily binding (subject to any subsequent arbitration, litigation or agreement), and can be enforced by the Courts. A similar process to UK adjudication has now been adopted by other countries including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and some states of the USA.
If you require an adjudicator, Nigel Grout has extensive experience in the adjudication process. He is an accredited adjudicator with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and included on the FIDIC President's List of Approved Dispute Adjudicators, and has also acted as party representative in many construction adjudications. He has spent over 35 years as a practising Quantity Surveyor working exclusively on civil engineering projects; particularly highways, structures, water, rail and infrastructure. Since 1991 has specialised in the resolution of disputes and contentious issues on such matters as the interpretation of contract documents, entitlement, quantum, delay and disruption, extensions of time, interim/final accounts, variations and contractual claims. Nigel is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation. He has particular expertise in ICE, NEC and FIDIC contract conditions.