Adjudication was made a feature of all construction contracts by the ‘Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1966’ . Section 108 of the Act provides parties to a contract with a right to refer disputes arising from the contract to adjudication and sets out certain minimum procedural requirements which enable either party to refer the matter to an independent party who is then required to make a decision within 28 days.
Adjudication has several advantages over arbitration and litigation:-
it is relatively quick
it is relatively simple
in many cases there is no need to involve lawyers or other advisers
it is generally more cost effective than arbitration or litigation
It can be used at any stage of the contract (ie to decide contractual disputes with designers before construction begins, to resolve contractual disputes between contractors and subcontractors). It can be an effective way of dealing with payment problems as well as technical disputes. What is more, the right to adjudication exists, regardless of the contract and even if the contract is totally silent on the matter of adjudication.
The industry bodies (CIC, NSCC, BPF, SECGroup, CC) have prepared a very useful and comprehensive guide to the arbitration process. The publication tells you what adjudication is, helps you to establish whether you have the right to take a dispute to adjudication and discusses whether you need professional help. It sets out th steps you have to take to start an adjudication, and tells how to respond should you receive a notice of adjudication. It explains what happens during the adjudication process; what you can expect from the adjudicator’s decision, what your options are once the adjudicator has made his decision – and who pays the costs.
Perhaps the best news is that you can download all this helpful advice absolutely free from www.cic.org.uk (Suggestion: don’t delay, at present the link is on the home page, if you wait until you want it, it may not be as obvious!)