Construction projects involves significant investment and commitment. Sometime things go wrong during the course of the project or after completion, and disputes become unavoidable.
The nature of disputes can vary, including, but not limited to:
- Extension of Time.
- Deduction of liquidated and asserting damages (LADs).
- Issue of Pay Less Notices.
- Defects with works done.
- Design issues leading to additional costs and delay.
- Variations and who is responsible for them?
- Insolvency of a party.
- Defective advice by professionals, such as Project Manager or the Architect.
- Valuation and Variations, and etc.
Disputes can be time-consuming and stressful for the parties involved; therefore, it is crucial for parties to ensure appropriate legal advice is taken to resolve the dispute quickly. Clients are best advised to adopt preventive measures at the outset to avoid future disputes. For example, agreeing clear terms from the beginning and keeping record of any variations.
Parties are obliged under the Civil Procedure Rules to make reasonable efforts to resolve any dispute before the formal issue of proceedings.
Dispute resolution clauses
A well drafted contract may offer an alternative option for resolving disputes prior to issuing formal proceedings in Court.
Some contracts may include arbitration in place of litigation through the courts and this may be by reference to a domestic provision and the Arbitration Act or by reference to the International Chamber of Commerce procedures. Many contracts include provisions for disputes to first be resolved, if possible, by reference to either mediation, conciliation, dispute boards or some other informal process.
The most common form of contracts, such as JCT Design and Build Contracts 2016, are covered by the Adjudication procedure as set out in the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (Construction Act 1996) as amended by Part of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (LDEDC Act 2009). The Construction Act 1996 allows the parties to the construction contract to benefit from the cheaper and quicker dispute resolution process of Adjudication. See Adjudication
The NEC suite of contracts provide various forms of dispute resolution clauses for parties to choose. For example;
- Option W1 – used when adjudication is the method of dispute resolution and the United Kingdom Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 does not apply.
- Option W2- used when adjudication is the method of dispute resolution and the United Kingdom Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 applies.
- Option W3- used when Dispute Avoidance Board is the method of dispute resolution and the United Kingdom Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 does not apply.
For more information on NEC click here
The FIDIC suite of contracts are covered by multi-stage dispute resolution procedures that escalates from adjudication of the dispute by a dispute adjudication board (DAB) to amicable settlement and finally arbitration.
Helping you with Construction Litigation and Dispute Resolution
At Barton Legal, our construction experts regularly advise both international and national clients; individuals and companies on a multitude of issues in the construction industry. We work in collaboration with our client and assist them in securing a commercial settlement for their disputes, where ever possible avoiding litigation.
Our expertise involves, advising clients of the options available to them, including, domestic and international adjudication, meditation, arbitration and court proceedings.
We have a trained mediator and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators so we can consider and advise you on the full range of dispute resolution options, from a position of real knowledge and experience.
We have practical experience of ADR in all its forms and its use in resolving issues.
We have experience of representing clients in the High Court, County Court and of dealing with appeals to the Supreme Court.
Litigation in all its forms is to be avoided. However, if there is no other option then you must be fully and properly prepared. You must have the information, means and stamina to go all the way to the final hearing or trial.
We can recommend experts and counsel that are vastly experienced and can work as part of your winning team.