Adjudication: the importance of getting it right
NEC users don’t like to talk about disputes. Indeed we spend a lot of our time trying to avoid them.
However, when a matter does have to be referred to an adjudicator, we need to be confident that the adjudicator not only understands the construction sector, the law and the NEC, but also that the adjudicator understands the spirit of NEC contracts.
The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) retains the industry’s leading expert knowledge base on NEC contracts through its experienced members and knowledge networks. As such it requires the highest standard of qualification for adjudicators acting under NEC contracts.
The ICE’s register of adjudicators is the only register or panel of adjudicators which requires members to have knowledge of NEC contracts as a precondition of admission. For these reasons, I believe ICE should be one of the first adjudicator nominating bodies you should consider when drafting an NEC contract.
Strict admission requirements
An ICE adjudicator’s understanding of NEC contracts and their experience of working with and resolving disputes under NEC is tested thoroughly through examination and interview before admission onto the register.
Furthermore, to ensure quality and consistency, contracting party feedback on adjudicators is constantly monitored and proactively acted upon. Yearly continuing professional development checks and five yearly re-assessments are also enforced.
The ICE register is multidisciplinary and includes lawyers, civil engineers, quantity surveyors, commercial managers, architects, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers. This gives parties the confidence that an ICE registered adjudicator can be appointed to resolve disputes on a broad range of works under NEC contracts.
Learning more about adjudication
Successful adjudication also requires both contracting parties to be familiar with adjudication and how it can solve disputes that cannot be resolved within the project team. However, the process is often misunderstood.
ICE’s training division is therefore launching a new one-day course next month to give you a clearer understanding of adjudication and how to get the most from it.
Supported by case studies and discussion, the course covers the key features of the adjudication process including the statutory right to adjudicate, the role of adjudicator nominating bodies and adjudication procedures, decisions and appeals.
The course will also explain the steps you need to take should you be interested in joining the ICE register, including an adjudicators’ workshop later this autumn.
For further information on ICE’s adjudication services please visit ice.org.uk/disputeresolution, and for information on the new adjudication course please visit icetraining.org.uk/courses.
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