RICS has developed new arbitration services for construction and engineering disputes in England and Wales, with the aim of providing unrivalled customer services that meet the expectations of parties to arbitrations in terms of quality, standards and user experience.
CEAS is designed to enable construction and engineering disputes to be referred to decision-makers who have extensive expertise and experience in dealing with such disputes. Our panel of arbitrators are highly qualified and experienced with specialist knowledge of the subject matter, and we ensure that they are independent from any financial or other interest in the outcome of the dispute.The new arbitration services are offered at two levels, depending on the value and complexity of the dispute. These levels are the Fast Track Arbitration Service and the Select Arbitration Service.
The Fast Track Arbitration Service provides an alternative to the County Court and adjudication for the resolution of disputes where the value is £100,000 or less. Parties may agree to use this service even if their contracts do not provide for arbitration, and we have prepared an example ad-hoc arbitration agreement for use in these circumstances.This service requires an award to be published within six months. It allows a more detailed examination of the issues than adjudication usually offers, and strives to achieve better value final and binding decisions than County Court judgments.
We charge an administrative fee of £425 (inclusive of VAT) to cover the costs for processing the application for appointment. This fee may be recoverable by the applicant as a cost in the arbitration. Arbitrators appointed under the Fast Track Arbitration Service have a maximum hourly rate and a maximum number of hours for which they can charge. The parties’ recoverable costs are also capped.
The Select Arbitration Service provides a viable alternative to the Technology and Construction Court to determine high value, complex disputes. The Select Arbitration Service is more cost effective than many other arbitration services, and it aims to be quicker and better value for money than litigation.
We do not charge an administration fee to the parties; instead we will recover our costs for overseeing the application process and arbitration appointment from the appointed arbitrator.
Parties will be advised of the arbitrator’s hourly rates during the appointment procedure. Parties can suggest what they believe to be reasonable hourly rates in the circumstances, and RICS will endeavour to source an arbitrator who will charge at the agreed rate. Whilst arbitrators’ fees are not capped, arbitrators will be required to provide an estimate of fees at the outset and to update the estimate throughout the course of the arbitration as appropriate.
Our panel of arbitrators includes experts from a range of professions, including surveyors, lawyers, engineers and architects. All panel members are strictly assessed and monitored by RICS to ensure that they are able to manage the CEAS process effectively, in a timely manner and based on the relevant law and practice. Arbitrators will usually be appointed following discussions with both parties. Where the parties are unable to agree the identity of their arbitrator, this engagement with RICS will give confidence that we will only appoint an arbitrator who has the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience.