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Maze: A Personal Journey through Adjudication Stress

Here's a little personal story, of what a situation I am currently going through. Although under law their identity is protected - what I find shocking is how many other main contractors continue to get away with these appalling behaviours and lack of pay for work completed. In a modern world, with technology proving evidence of work completed to adjudicators and the court system, how do contractors think they can continue getting away with false claims?



Embarking on a construction project is akin to setting sail on a turbulent sea. With the promise of a smooth journey, unforeseen storms can quickly disrupt the course. In the realm of construction, one storm I found myself caught in was the tumultuous process of adjudication following a dispute with a contractor who failed to fairly compensate a sub-contractor for completed work. As I recount my personal experience, I hope to shed light on the stress associated with the adjudication process under JCT 2016 terms and conditions and the Construction Act in England and Wales.





The Project's Genesis:

The project began with optimism and collaboration, as my team and I eagerly embarked on a venture aligned with the JCT 2016 terms and conditions. The initial phases were harmonious, but as the project progressed, so did the tensions.



The Breach:

Despite meticulous planning and adherence to contractual obligations, the contractor failed to honour their commitment to fair compensation for the work completed by our subcontractor. This breach of trust not only strained professional relationships but also threatened the financial stability of our venture. To be honest, problems were being seen halfway through the project - and I've never known of such unfairness and bullying on site. But the determination to see the end of the work and a glimmer of hope that the legal system would provide a safety net after, kept us going.

Entering the Adjudication Arena:

In the wake of the dispute, we found ourselves thrust into the adjudication process – a legal battleground where disputes are resolved swiftly. ( Even when the responding party are always late in submissions, and tries to pull ludicrous arguments.)


The Construction Act in England and Wales played a pivotal role in shaping the contours of this process. It was a daunting prospect, an arena where emotions and legalities collided.

Stressors Unveiled:

  1. Time Crunch: The adjudication process, though designed for swift resolution, introduced an acute time crunch. Preparing a comprehensive case, gathering evidence, and navigating legal intricacies demanded a significant commitment of time and resources.

  2. Financial Strain: As the process unfolded, the financial implications became increasingly apparent. Legal representation, dispute resolution fees, and the potential cost of delayed project timelines cast a looming shadow over the project's financial health.

  3. Emotional Toll: Beyond the tangible stressors, the emotional toll was palpable. The interpersonal dynamics that once fuelled collaboration were strained, and the spectre of a protracted legal battle cast doubt on the project's future.


The Light at the End of the Tunnel:

Despite the adversities, the adjudication process also offered a glimmer of hope. It provided a structured framework for dispute resolution, allowing for a fair examination of the facts. With a dedicated legal team by our side, we navigated the complexities, presenting our case with clarity and conviction.


Resolution and Lessons Learned:

In the end, the adjudicator's decision favoured our cause. The resolution, while validating, left scars that would take time to heal. The experience, however, imparted valuable lessons about the importance of thorough contract review, transparent communication, and the need for contingency plans in the volatile construction landscape.


So my advice to any subcontractor who is owed a large sum of money - fight for what is rightfully due. If you have completed the work, the admin is in place and you have the evidence. Collect what is dutifully owed.


The stress of undergoing the adjudication process following a dispute under JCT 2016 terms and conditions and the Construction Act in England and Wales is an indelible part of my construction journey. While the path was fraught with challenges, it also underscored the resilience required to weather storms in the construction industry. As projects unfold, the lessons learned in the crucible of dispute resolution serve as a compass, guiding future endeavours toward smoother waters.

It wasn't the easiest part of my career in the construction industry, but it's one where I have come out of the project stronger and wiser.


Subcontractors - use the safety net of the contract and legal system! Oh and get a decent adjudicator!

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