Low value claims - fixed fee adjudication
We understand that the cost of having building or construction disputes resolved, or uncertainty about those costs, prevents many people from recovering money that they are properly entitled to be paid under building and construction contracts, and reluctant payers often use that situation to their advantage. This is particularly so where the amount in dispute is relatively small by industry standards - claims for less than $50,000.00 including GST – and those payers assume that the payee will take no steps to recover the unpaid amount because the cost and bother of doing so outweighs the benefit.
To redress that situation, the Building Disputes Tribunal provides a fully administered fixed fee adjudication service for Low Value Adjudication Claims (LVC’s) of limited complexity (please note the special conditions that attach to this offer stated below). This service is aimed at providing parties to construction disputes with certainty as to the cost of taking a dispute to adjudication so that parties can make informed and considered commercial decisions as to whether to proceed down the adjudication pathway. This unique service ensures that the cost of having a low value claim resolved by adjudication is not disproportionate to the amount in dispute.
The process is straightforward, all of the documents required are available online and most parties find they can easily use the service without the assistance of lawyers or other professional advisors, or with minimal assistance and overview by their legal and/or technical advisers.
Special conditions attach to the LVC service including a limit on the number of items that may be determined in any one adjudication proceeding to only three items at issue and limiting the number and extent of documents that may be submitted by a claimant in support of any claim (see schedule of fees below).
The fixed price does not include any allowance for a conference of the parties or for inspection of the construction work or any other thing to which the dispute relates.
If any party or the adjudicator requires a conference to be convened, or an inspection to be undertaken (and the adjudicator considers it necessary), the Tribunal will charge a further amount of $750.00 inclusive of GST together with mileage/travel expenses and this amount will be required to be paid to the Tribunal before the adjudicator’s determination will be given to the parties. However, it is highly unlikely that an adjudicator will require a conference or an inspection as adjudication is a process undertaken on the documents in almost every case. To date, less than 0.4% of cases have involved a conference or a site inspection.
In the event that a claim or response presents undue complexity notwithstanding the low value of the claim or the limited number of matters at issue, or the submissions and evidence submitted in support of the claim exceed the permitted number of documents (refer to the fee schedule on the website) the Tribunal may at its sole discretion decline to provide the adjudication on a fixed fee basis under the LVC scheme. In that event, the Tribunal will advise the parties accordingly and the claim will simply revert to a General Claim and the cost of the adjudication will be determined by the time the adjudicator is required to expend on the duties of the matter, together with any expenses incurred by the adjudicator in the execution of those duties.
A notice of acceptance of appointment as adjudicator will not be served on the parties to the adjudication by the Tribunal until payment of the required security is made in full and the funds are clear.