Industry leaders to call for amendments to Construction Act to bring in stronger adjudicators and simpler system.
Construction minister Nigel Griffiths is to meet industry leaders next month to discuss proposals to strengthen and simplify the adjudication provisions of the Construction Act.

The most significant proposal is for a single procedure for adjudications. At present, parties can write their own rules into their contracts. In the most notorious of these cases, Bridgewater vs Tolent, the contractor included a clause deterring its subcontractors from taking disputes to adjudication by making the referring party pay both sides' costs.

Griffiths will also be lobbied to reduce the scope for a losing party to challenge a decision in the High Court. This could be done by, for example, giving an adjudicator the power to determine whether the parties had a legitimate dispute, and whether a construction contract was in existence.

The meeting with the minister will be attended by groups such as the Construction Confederation and the Construction Industry Council.

We must address payment; there have been many abuses of the system

Rudi Klein, construction lawyer

Rudi Klein, a barrister and chief executive of the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group, said Griffiths was keen to listen to the industry's concerns.

He added that he would be lobbying for changes to the second main component of the Construction Act, which deals with the rules for payment.

He said: "We must address payment; there have been many abuses of the system. At present, the act allows pay-when-payed in event of the insolvency of a payer upstream. We want that changed."

The SEC is to carry out a survey of its members to find out what their concerns were about the Construction Act.