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Adjudicators need special skills

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letters

Mr de Moubray (Letters, aj 9.7.98) may rest assured that I did not intend to suggest that architects could not make good adjudicators. I do say however that if an architect (or anyone else) is to provide satisfactory results it will be because of his training as an adjudicator not because of his training as an architect. Lawyers already have a good part of this training and have a natural appreciation of the law.

Two other points in reply to Mr de Moubray. Firstly, an adjudication will only be sought because of the failure of the contract administrator to satisfy at least one party that he has acted fairly. This will not, I suggest, be a particularly way of starting an adjudication by another contract administrator.

Secondly, so-called 'building disputes' are hardly ever disputes about building but disputes about the responsibilities and obligations placed on the parties by the terms and conditions of a legal contract.

Paul Hyett's column (aj 2.7.98 and 9.7.98) gives an excellent example, if carefully read, of the serious damage which can result from wrong adjudication by a building professional (in that case a quantity surveyor) trying to deal with technical matters on which he is not qualified, rather than the strictly contractual issues of the dispute which should have been decided by someone with suitable legal training acting with the benefit of expert advice.

The question at issue should not have been whether or not the pile was satisfactory but whether the contract administrator, on the advice of the engineer, had the contractual authority to condemn it.

JOHN A HARRIS

jaze@compuserve.com

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