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Adjudicator Blundered in £900,000 Building Contract Dispute

A company which was directed to pay over £900,000 to builders following a major construction project succeeded in overturning more than half of that bill after the High Court identified a fundamental flaw in an adjudicator’s decision.

The project was almost complete when the parties fell out over money and the builders suspended work on the site. Following two hearings, an adjudicator found that the builders were owed a total of £908,695. The company agreed that it was obliged to pay £442,394 of that sum, but disputed the balance.

The builders brought proceedings to enforce the award in full. The dispute hinged on the precise date on which the builders had demanded a payment and whether the company had disputed the sum claimed before expiry of a contractual deadline. The Court found that the adjudicator was wrong to reject the company’s arguments on that issue and that it owed no more than the sum already agreed.