What is adjudication?

Adjudication is a unique fast track statutory dispute resolution process or resolving building and construction disputes under the Act. It is the most commonly used dispute resolution process for resolving such disputes.

Adjudication is quick and cost effective. Most disputes are resolved in less than six weeks from the time the process is initiated.

Adjudication can be used regardless of whether the construction contract is written or oral.

An adjudicator must determine whether or not any of the parties to a construction contract are liable (or will be liable if certain conditions are met) to make a payment under that contract, and any questions in dispute about the rights and obligations of the parties under that contract.

An adjudicator’s determination is binding on the parties, unless or until the dispute is finally determined by arbitration or by court proceedings, or resolved by agreement or mediation after the dispute is determined by the adjudicator.

If a party against whom an adjudicator’s determination is made fails to comply with the adjudicator’s determination, the party in whose favour the determination is made may recover from the party that is liable, in any court, the unpaid amount and actual and reasonable costs of recovery awarded by that court, suspend the contraction work, or apply for the determination to be enforced by entry as a judgment in the District Court.

An adjudicator may, in certain circumstances, approve the issue of a charging order in respect of the construction site owned by a party to the construction contract against whom a claim is made in an adjudication, or an associate of that person.

Under the Act, the presumption is that parties to adjudication will meet their own costs and expenses and will share the cost of the adjudication equally.

Who can use adjudication?

The Act applies with very few exceptions to every construction contract that relates to the carrying out of construction work in New Zealand Any party who has a dispute or difference with any other party to that contract can refer that dispute to adjudication.

A claimant (the party referring a dispute to adjudication) may secure the appointment of a Building Disputes Tribunal (BDT) adjudicator within 24 hours of making an application.

A claimant does not require the agreement of the respondent to apply to the BDT for the appointment of an adjudicator. The respondent cannot delay, avoid or avert the adjudication process.

A dispute may be referred to adjudication even though it is the subject of another dispute resolution procedure (for example: a court, arbitral or tribunal proceeding, or mediation).

The Building Disputes Tribunal

BDT, as an independent, nationwide specialist dispute resolution service provider to the building and construction industry in New Zealand, has had over 25 years’ experience delivering fully administered end-to-end dispute resolution services including appointing adjudicators and administering adjudication proceedings in more than 900 adjudications under the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (the Act).

BDT is an Authorised Nominating Authority (ANA) authorised by the Minister of Building and Housing to appoint adjudicators to determine disputes arising under construction contracts by adjudication under the Act.

Why use the Building Disputes Tribunal adjudication service to resolve a building or construction dispute?

BDT has over 30 years’ experience delivering specialist fully administered end-to-end dispute resolution services to the building and construction industry.

BDT is a private ‘registry’ and has appointed adjudicators and administered adjudication proceedings in more than 900 adjudication cases under the Act.

For the past 10 years, BDT adjudicators have adjudicated approximately 85% of all building disputes referred to adjudication each year in New Zealand.

BDT’s adjudicators are selected to join BDT’s panels of adjudicators by invitation only. They are highly trained, skilled, experienced and knowledgeable in construction law and practice and are respected and recognised as leaders in construction dispute resolution in New Zealand and internationally.

BDT has adjudicators, arbitrators, experts, evaluators, facilitators and mediators based in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and other countries around the globe so as to provide the broadest base of expertise, experience, independence and impartiality.

Each determination by a BDT adjudicator is subject to ‘scrutiny’ by one of BDT’s principal adjudicators before being given to the parties. This unique quality assurance mechanism makes BDT’s adjudication service New Zealand’s most reliable adjudication system.

BDT’s experienced registrars provide a highly efficient, comprehensive and professional end-to-end case management and administration service. The registrars help parties understand the adjudication process and oversee and administer the adjudication process from the appointment of the adjudicator to delivery of the determination. This highly efficient registry service ensures certainty, consistency, and quality in the delivery of BDT’s adjudication service.

What are the important and unique features of BDT’s adjudication service?

Important and unique features of BDT’s ANA and adjudication service include:

  • free valid notice of adjudication template;
  • free 24-hour appointment service;
  • convenient online application forms;
  • highly skilled, experienced and respected adjudicators;
  • peer review of all determinations; and
  • fixed fee services for low value claims (monetary claims under $50,000.00 subject to conditions).

Can I apply for the appointment of an adjudicator?

If you have served a notice of adjudication on the other party or parties to the construction contract (and, where appropriate for the purpose of the adjudication, on the owner of the construction site) and you are ready to have your building dispute resolved by adjudication, simply complete our online application form and we will appoint an adjudicator within 24 hours. BDT does not charge the parties for this appointment service.

Please note: an application for appointment of an adjudicator must be made in the period between and including two to five working dates after the notice of adjudication is served on the other parties to the adjudication (barring the occurrence of any statutory non-working days, if the notice is served on a Monday you cannot make your application to BDT until the Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday of that week or the Monday of the following week; if the notice is served on a Friday, you cannot make your application to BDT until the following Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday).


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