Jeffrey Brown presents the results of the Lee Crowder adjudication survey. It found that too many main contractors are dissatisfied with the dispute resolution process …
only Two-thirds of Main contractors are satisfied with adjudication. That is the key finding of Lee Crowder's survey on the process. The same figure, 67%, considered adjudicators' fees fair or good value, with only 20% saying they were excessive.

These 67% figures have to be considered unsatisfactorily low, but despite this lukewarm response, two-thirds of the 48 respondents predicted that the volume of adjudications involving them would rise in the next 12 months.

So, how would those surveyed change the process? About 51% said the most important criticism was that adjudicators should have more time to deliver their decisions; 37% of all main contractors thought that the most important change was that costs should follow the event.

Lee Crowder's study is the first to specifically target main contractors, the most frequent users of adjudication. They not only have to deal with disputes with their own subcontractors, but also conflicts with their employers. The respondents had been involved in 204 adjudications in total, with 73% having taken part in between one and five (chart, above). And of those 204 disputes, half were worth more than £100,000 (right).

Unsurprisingly, main contractors tended not to be the referring party in most cases. Main contractors were referring parties in 39 cases, or 19%. Of the total number of adjudications, the referring party was successful 57% of the time. This statistic must be treated with some caution, however, because the survey also found that only 73% of the disputes were disposed of by the adjudication process.

Between November 2000 and March 2001 main contractors were invited to respond to questionnaires by post or at Lee Crowder construction conferences. Forty-eight main contractors responded.

67% of main contractors considered the adjudication process satisfactory 20% considered adjudicators’ fees excessive 51% thought it most important that adjudicators have more time to deliver their decisions