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Understanding Adjudication in Construction Disputes

Filing a lawsuit in a construction project can cause problems for everyone involved. That is why many construction contracts have clauses outlining the rules and requirements for adjudication. Adjudication is an easier method of resolving disputes that arise during the construction process. In this article, we’ll outline everything you need to know about adjudication in construction disputes. For an experienced group of lawyers that frequently help their clients reach a favorable settlement by way of alternative dispute resolution, look no further than the construction dispute lawyers in Clarksville, TN


Related: Common Alternative Dispute Resolution Techniques 

What is Adjudication?

Adjudication is a method of resolving construction disputes without involving a prolonged legal process. Instead, both parties meet with an adjudicator who acts as a judge in the case. Once both sides have laid out their side of the dispute, the adjudicator helps them reach an agreement. It is similar to summary judgment in a trial where the judge makes the final decision instead of a jury. The overall process is faster, and there is only one person to review your side of the case. 

For adjudication to be an option, it must be outlined in the contract for the project. Otherwise, it is more likely for one of the parties to file a lawsuit to handle a dispute that otherwise cannot be resolved. Construction dispute lawyers in Clarksville, TN, can help you resolve disputes and develop contracts with adjudication clauses.


Related: 3 Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Starting the Process

The adjudication process can be started at any time. Only the parties named in the contract are able to participate in the adjudication process. It begins when one of the parties notifies the other party of their intent to adjudicate. The notice that is created contains several pieces of information outlining the details of the dispute in question. Once it is delivered to the other party, the party will have a chance to respond. From there, an adjudicator is chosen, and the dispute can be heard by the adjudicator.

How Adjudications Are Decided

The adjudicator has the freedom to choose the method for handling the dispute. This could be a face-to-face meeting between the parties, or she can all be done remotely. In most cases, the adjudicator has both parties create statements about the dispute from their perspective. The adjudicator may need to seek help from construction experts and independent third parties to fully understand the context of the dispute. Once all of the information is available and has been reviewed, the adjudicator will make a decision.

This whole process must be completed within 28 days of the notice of adjudication’s delivery to the other party. It may be possible to extend the deadline under specific circumstances, but that rarely happens. Once the decision is made, there is little chance of having it overturned. However, it is possible to submit a rebuttal and have the decision overturned.

Your documentation for the adjudication process is vital in determining the outcome. It may be in your best interest to have a construction law lawyer in Franklin, TN, help you compile the appropriate paperwork. It may make the difference between winning or losing the adjudication.

Payment

Since the adjudicator is a third-party, his or her payment is not covered under the contract for the project. Instead, both parties are responsible for paying the adjudicator. The amount can be set by the adjudicator but should be related to the amount of work that he or she did. There have been cases where the adjudicator has asked for an amount that both parties disagreed with. In this case, you can submit an inquiry with the court to determine how much the adjudicator should be paid. 

This is an easier and more cost-effective way of handling disputes since the fees for the adjudicator are often less than the cost of lawsuits. Contractors and subcontractors can often agree on what to pay the adjudicator and split the costs. If they can’t, the court system can help with adjudicator-related questions.

Why Choose Adjudication

There are several key benefits to using adjudication over other forms of legal action. Perhaps the most prominent benefit is that adjudication does not cause delays in a project. This is because it has a strict time limit that must be followed. The process can be completed quickly and with minimal effort by both parties. Filing a lawsuit is expensive and takes a lot of time to complete, which can affect the overall timeline for the project.

Adjudication also does not carry the weight that a lawsuit does. Lawsuits usually sever the relationship between contractors and subcontractors when the project is finished. Adjudication is a less severe way of solving unresolvable disputes without hurting business relationships.

Another reason why adjudication is preferable to a lawsuit is that it is more affordable. Lawsuits are time-consuming and expensive, whereas adjudication does not have to be expensive and only requires input from either party when creating their argument. Since the argument is submitted as a written document, both parties can resume work in other areas while waiting for the adjudication to be settled. Many companies hire a construction law firm in Franklin, TN, to represent them in the adjudication process. This can make a lot of the work simpler and easier to handle, while still getting positive outcomes.

While adjudication can be an easier way of handling disputes than a lawsuit, the process can be a bit difficult to manage on your own. Assistance from a legal representative can go a long way in helping you manage in adjudication. If you have any questions about adjudication, contact a construction lawyer in Clarksville, TN, from Cotney Construction Law.

If you would like to speak with one of our construction dispute lawyers in Clarksville, TN, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.