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Adjudications: the gift no construction company wants at Christmas…

By December 19, 2023January 10th, 2024No Comments

Adjudications: the gift no construction company wants at Christmas…

Category

Corporate Insight

Date

December 19, 2023
The read

The festive season should be a time when we can all put our feet up, enjoy time with our families and not have to worry one iota about work.

However, for those managing construction businesses, the Christmas period can spring a number of surprises, especially adjudications.

Being on the receiving end of an adjudication request during the holidays can be like walking into a minefield, especially given the short time frames involved and the potential limitations posed by the festive period.

Adjudication allows parties to quickly resolve disputes without resorting to lengthy court battles, however when the adjudication process rears its head during the festive season, construction firms need to be extra vigilant.

For a start, it is not unknown for Referring Parties to wait until the festive period to commence adjudication proceedings to gain an advantage. So, if you have a dispute where the other side has gone quiet for the last couple of months, this could be a real red flag.

Secondly, one of the primary reasons why construction companies should be wary of being the responding party in an adjudication over the Christmas period is the accelerated timeline. Adjudications operate on tight schedules, often with the Response to the adjudication required usually in 7 or 14 days. Adjudicators will not always accept Christmas as a consideration when considering the timetable.

Last but not least, commencing an adjudication during the Christmas season can be somewhat of a strategic move for some. With bank holidays, limited access to staff, and restricted availability of crucial documents, the responding party may find themselves at a significant disadvantage. It’s a tactic that can catch even the most prepared construction companies off guard.

So… how can construction companies protect themselves? Below are just five suggestions to help you stay ahead of the game and avoid any nasty surprises this Christmas…

Create a dedicated response team

Assemble a dedicated response team well in advance. Identify key personnel who can be available during the holiday season and make sure they understand their roles. Having a designated team ensures that responsibilities are clear, and everyone is on the same page when the adjudication notice drops.

Stay proactive with document management

Keep your documents organised and accessible. In the rush of the holiday season, it’s easy to misplace critical information. Utilise efficient document management systems to ensure that important records are readily available, even if key staff members are on holiday.

Be strategic with communication

Establish open lines of communication with your legal team, even during the holiday break. Discuss potential scenarios, review key documents, and strategise responses in advance. Being proactive in communication helps in navigating the time-sensitive nature of adjudications.

Negotiate time extensions early

If you anticipate potential adjudication issues during the holiday season, consider negotiating time extensions with other parties involved. Agreeing on a reasonable timeline can alleviate some of the pressure and ensure a fair process for all parties. Remember, communication and collaboration are key.

Educate staff on adjudication protocols

It might be a bit late for this now but part of your CPD for next year might include ensuring that your team is well-versed in the adjudication process. Provide training on the specific steps involved, the potential challenges, and the importance of adhering to timelines. An informed team is better equipped to respond effectively when faced with an adjudication notice.

‘Tis the season for preparedness…

In the world of construction, surprises are part of the job description. However, facing an adjudication during the holiday season doesn’t have to be a nightmare. By implementing these practical suggestions and staying vigilant, construction companies can navigate the challenges of responding to adjudications with finesse.

Preparation is the key to success. Create a response team, manage your documents efficiently, communicate strategically, negotiate time extensions when needed, and educate your staff on the intricacies of adjudication.

With these measures in place, your construction company can enjoy the holiday season with peace of mind, knowing that you’re ready to tackle any challenges that come your way…