Construction Law Review 2016

Author:Mason Hayes & Curran
Profession:Mason Hayes & Curran

Last year we experienced a strong recovery for the Irish construction industry and activity trends look set to maintain this positive momentum in 2017.

Key topics in 2016 included:

The introduction of adjudication

Amendments to the Public Works Contract

The return of private funding has brought with it a return to bespoke forms of contract. Given the level of international involvement, there has been an increase in the use of adaptations of the JCT and FIDIC contracts. In terms of publicly-funded works, amendments were introduced to the Public Works Contract ("PWC") in April 2016. 

The introduction of adjudication

The Construction Contracts Act 2013 (the "Act") was finally commenced in April 2016 and adjudication is now available as a fast-track means of resolving payment disputes in all contracts, both public and private. The Act was commenced in April 2016 and applies to all contracts entered into after 25 July 2016. The most significant part of this legislation is the introduction to Ireland for the first time of a statutory form of adjudication for construction contracts with a value exceeding €10,000, but excluding most residential contracts. Contracts must set out a payment regime. If no payment regime is set out then the default regime in the Act will apply. If payment is not made in accordance with the regime, either party may refer a payment dispute to adjudication and may suspend the works until the matter is resolved. The adjudication process must be completed within 28 days, unless an extension is agreed by the parties. The process will result in a decision which will bind the parties unless and until it is overturned by an arbitrator or a court. 

A panel of adjudicators was appointed and the chairman of the panel is Dr Nael Bunni.  A code of practice for the conduct of adjudications was published by Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Mr Pat Breen TD in July 2016 to supplement the legislation.

New court rules were introduced in August 2016 to provide for enforcement of adjudicators' decisions. The rules are similar to the existing court rules for the enforcement of arbitration awards, which is by way of originating notice of motion and affidavit. The intention was to provide a faster and more efficient method of enforcing adjudicators decisions. It remains to be seen whether the new rules achieve this aim.

The PWC was amended in June 2016 to satisfy the requirements set out in the legislation for a payment...

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