Your outline of the 'first adjudication case' (aj 11.6.98) understandably left out what might be the most significant piece of information, namely what were the costs associated with the adjudication? From the description, the adjudication involved not only two director-level architects (riba recommended hourly rate: £170 plus expenses and vat), but also solicitors on the client's side and a contract consultant for the architect. What proportion of the £12,000 dispute was absorbed by these costs? Who was required to pay the adjudicator's fees? Did the clients come off better financially than if they had paid the original £12,000, or the architects if they had written the same sum off as a bad debt? What was the cost to the architects of the time taken to brief their contract consultant, taking into account not only the direct cost of their time but also the disruption to other areas of their business? Did they have any means to recover those costs?
One word of warning: the article states that 'adjudication is not a final solution'. This is not necessarily the case, since it is possible to enter into a contract where the decision of the adjudicator is accepted as finally determining a dispute. Architects will probably find that their insurers have required them not to submit to contracts with such conditions - on pain of forfeiting their right to indemnity.
Austin Winkley and Associates, London SE1
. . . and needs somepoints of clarification
I was interested to read the informative article regarding the adjudication reported in which our company represented the architects (aj 11.6.98). I would like to pick up just one or two points of factual inaccuracy:
The work which the architect claimant carried out was produced to the respondents' requirements and specification and the tenders received were £78,039 and £83,591, not £200,000
The architects actually 'walked away' with rather more than half their claimed fees. The respondents had refused to pay outstanding fees of £8599. £1500 had already been paid and the respondents agreed to pay a further £5700 in settlement.
The adjudication in question was unusual in that it was referred to adjudication by the High Court and was to be final and binding on the parties. As your article points out, adjudication is not normally a final resolution.
The name of the expert was Colin Winter, not John Winter.
The actual adjudicator's decision would not have been given on 4 June but up to seven days later.
Tadcaster, North Yorkshire