Costs and Fees

There are two types of costs that may be incurred in an adjudication:
  • the fees and expenses of the adjudicator; and
  • a party’s own costs and expenses of the adjudication.

The Building Disputes Tribunal does not charge an application fee for the nomination of adjudicators.

Adjudicator fees and expenses

The presumption under the Act is that the parties will contribute to the fees and expenses of the adjudicator in equal proportions.

However, an adjudicator may determine that the parties are liable to contribute to his or her fees and expenses in unequal proportions if, in the adjudicator’s view, the claimant’s claim or the respondent’s response was without substantial merit, or a party to the adjudication acted in a contemptuous or improper manner during the adjudication.

The cost of determining claims for amounts under $50,000.00 (including GST) that meet BDT’s LVC criteria is fixed according to the amount in dispute.  Click here to view the relevant fees for LVC claims.

The cost of determining General Claims and multi-issue low value claims is based on the time engaged on the duties of the matter by the adjudicator. For these claims, there is simply no means of accurately determining how much an adjudication may cost at the outset, as the cost depends on many factors including: the number and complexity of the matters in issue; the volume of documentation and evidence provided; the manner in which the documentation and other evidence is provided; and whether and to what extent a party chooses to engage legal or other expert advisers to assist in the preparation of a claim or response.

Payment of security to secure the appointment of an adjudicator

Before the Building Disputes Tribunal will issue a notice of acceptance on behalf of an adjudicator, it requires the prescribed amount of security for the adjudicator’s fees and expenses to be paid into its trust account. The amount of security is determined on the basis of the amount in dispute. The security is not an estimate of the cost of the adjudication, which cost will ultimately be determined by the amount of time that an adjudicator is required to expend on the duties of the matter unless the adjudication is undertaken under BDT’s fixed fee Low Value Claim adjudication service.

In almost every case, the claimant will pay the security amount required to secure the appointment of the adjudicator immediately following service of the notice of adjudication when making an application for the appointment of an adjudicator. In such cases the claimant will, in its notice of adjudication, and subsequently in its adjudication claim, seek a determination from the adjudicator that the respondent, or any other party to the adjudication, is liable to meet the adjudicator’s fees and expenses and to reimburse the claimant for the security paid in such proportions as the adjudicator determines.

When the Tribunal serves the adjudicator’s notice of acceptance on the parties, the Registrar will invite the respondent to contribute an equal share of the amount paid as security by the claimant on the basis that the Act contemplates that the parties will bear their own costs and expenses and meet the adjudicator’s fees in equal proportions unless the grounds in sections 56(1) and 57(4) are made out.

In the event that the respondent pays that amount, the Tribunal will immediately issue the respondent with a receipt and refund the claimant in that same amount leaving the adjudicator to ultimately determine the issue of costs as between the parties.

A party’s own costs and expenses

Once again, the presumption under the Act is that each party will bear its own costs and expenses associated with the adjudication process.

However, an adjudicator may determine that a party’s adjudication costs and expenses must be met by any of the parties to the adjudication, if the adjudicator considers that a party has caused those costs and expenses to be incurred unnecessarily by bad faith on the part of that party or allegations or objections by that party that are without substantial merit.

Generally, each party will bear its own internal administrative and resourcing costs and expenses.

An Authorised Nominating Authority
under section 65 of the Construction Contracts Act 2002