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The Arbitration Act 1996 was a response to growing criticism of this method of dispute resolution which many consider to have become as slow and costly as litigation. The provisions of the new Act seek to expedite the process by allowing arbitrators to act with more freedom and authority and by codifying certain common-law powers available to them.

Sarah Lupton, a practising architect and lecturer in architectural practice, has written a book, Architects' Guide to Arbitration - The Arbitration Act 1996, aimed at architects and other professionals involved in construction. It gives an overview of arbitration and discusses its legal framework, including the new Act, and the provisions included in construction contracts. It goes through the process of arbitration step by step, outlining the duties and roles of the participants at each stage, including the appointment and obligations of the arbitrator, and the role of the courts in supporting the process. It describes the various forms of the hearing and the award.

The guide assumes no prior knowledge of arbitration on the part of the reader, and though a basic understanding of the law is a great help in understanding the subject, it is not essential for reading the guide.

Architects' Guide to Arbitration is published by riba Publications, price £20.00.


The European Liquid Roofing Association has published the second in a series of guidance notes, entitled Generic Types of Liquid Waterproofing Systems. The main body of the document is devoted to generic type descriptions and is divided into seven subsections: polymer-modified bitumen emulsions and solutions; glass-reinforced resilient unsaturated polyester resins; flexible unsaturated polyester resins; hot-applied polymer-modified bitumen; polyurethanes; bitumen emulsions and solutions; water-dispersible polymers. These relate to the sections in the European Technical Approval Guideline entitled 'Liquid Applied Waterproofing Systems for Use in Roof Waterproofing'. The guidance note deals with solvent-based acrylic roof-coating systems under a separate heading.

elra's five-page document summarises the benefits of various liquid roofing systems, examining in some detail their main properties, suitability for purpose, chemical composition and application methods, and giving additional information on parallel certification, health and safety and guarantees.

Prepared by elra's technical committee, with the participation of representatives from the National Federation of Roofing Contractors and the Flat Roofing Alliance, the document is aimed at specifiers and contractors. Copies are available from W A Jenkins, secretary, elra, tel 01444 417458.


University College London has produced a guide to pfi for the Construction Industry Council which aims to provide a practical straightforward explanation of pfi and fully describes the entire process of how to obtain construction work in the public sector.

It specifically describes the different opportunities pfi presents to different types of company and shows how construction companies need to find new ways to work with a wide range of consultants and specialist- service providers. The guide explains the different roles in which constructors, be they consultants, builders or designers, can be involved in public- sector work, and particularly highlights the opportunities that exist for smaller companies looking for subcontract roles in pfi projects. It 'answers some of the questions and concerns in the industry and unravels the current complexities of pfi, to enable more constructors to understand the risk so that they can better capture the rewards'.

Constructors' Key Guide to pfi costs £30.00 and is published by Thomas Telford Publishing, tel 0171 665 2470.

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