Construction company Bovis has become the first major company to sign up to the Centre for Dispute Resolution's adjudication scheme.
Bovis's move was prompted by the latest Construction Act, which compels companies to refer disputes to adjudicators.
Its in-house legal team, led by Mark Hedderley, reviewed all the adjudication schemes available, including those of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Construction Industry Council.
Companies now have to specify in their contracts which scheme they will use and name three adjudicators.
Hedderley said: “CEDR's rules are unique. They allow parties to opt for mediation, which we found particularly attractive.” He added: “Dispute resolution is CEDR's raison d'etre rather than an add-on extra as with most bodies.”
He was also attracted by the quality of CEDR's adjudicators. Included in the 14 names Bovis chose from CEDR's list are Nabarro Nathanson partner Giles Dixon – who wrote CEDR's rules – and Roger Trett, of Trett Consulting, currently the adjudicator on the Royal Opera House redevelopment and the Canary Riverside Phase 1 project.
Hedderley said that Bovis had required CEDR to change its rules for the Bovis scheme so that an adjudicator would be needed to give written reasons for rulings.
A number of insurers, especially those involved in PI claims, would expect to see reasons set out, he said.
Bill Marsh, director of alternative dispute resolution services at CEDR, said: “CEDR's rules for adjudication have [some] flexibility written in so that users can adapt them to their own needs while remaining within the parameters of the Construction Act.”
The construction industry now accounts for almost a third of the disputes covered by CEDR.