The Building Disputes Tribunal maintains two panels of arbitrators.
All Building Disputes Tribunal arbitrators have been appointed to the Tribunal’s panels because of their extensive knowledge and expertise in construction law coupled with their extensive knowledge, skill and experience in arbitration.
Some arbitrators come from legal backgrounds, some have an engineering, architectural and/or quantity surveying background and others have been builders, project managers and/or building consultants – all have extensive knowledge of building and construction practice and building and construction law in New Zealand.
The Building Disputes Tribunal provides a continuing professional development programme for its arbitrators to ensure consistency and excellence in the delivery of its services. All arbitrators on the Tribunal’s panels are required to maintain appropriate levels of continuing professional development.
In essence, the maintenance of two panels of arbitrators by the Tribunal simply recognises and respects the different levels of expertise and experience of the constituent members just as it does in any other dispute resolution forum i.e. the courts.
The Tribunal’s Principal Arbitrators are the most experienced, knowledgeable and respected arbitrators in New Zealand today.
The Tribunal’s Principal Arbitrators are recognised as the leaders in construction dispute resolution in New Zealand and by virtue of their experience and standing, the Principal Arbitrators may be appointed by the Tribunal to arbitrate disputes of any nature and claims of any value.
The value of claims submitted to date for arbitration by Building Disputes Tribunal arbitrators range from simple factual disputes involving a few thousand dollars to disputes for over $100M involving numerous complex factual and legal issues.
Unless a party takes objection, each award by any Tribunal arbitrator is subject to ‘scrutiny’ by one of the Tribunal’s Principal Arbitrators before being given to the parties. Scrutiny is a key element of the Tribunal’s arbitration service ensuring that arbitrators’ awards are of the highest possible standard and thus less susceptible to correction or challenge in the courts. This unique quality assurance mechanism makes the Tribunal’s arbitration service the country’s most reliable arbitration system.
The arbitrators on the Tribunal’s General Panel have been selected by the Tribunal because of their extensive knowledge of construction law and their training, skill and experience in arbitration.
Generally the jurisdiction of the arbitrators on the Tribunal’s General Panel is limited to claims up to the value of $200,000.00.
The value of claims in respect of which the arbitrators on the General Panel may be nominated to arbitrate has been fixed by the Tribunal in direct response to the expectations and requirements of the industry and the legal profession for a proportionate response to determination making by Arbitrators. In simple terms, parties and their advisers expect, and indeed require, that disputes involving large sums of money, which by their very nature typically involve more technically and legally complex matters, should be dealt with by those persons with the most experience and knowledge. The situation is similar to that in civil litigation where the jurisdiction of the District Court is limited to $200,000.00 whereas the High Court has no upper limit.