As the independent association in South Africa focussing solely on construction adjudication, CAASA has initiated the compilation and publishing of a set of standard use documents to be adopted and implemented by Adjudicators when carrying out their related duties. Besides the required administrative documents such as nomination requests and appointment letters, the two main documents are the Adjudicator’s Agreement, as well as the all-important Adjudication Rules. These are now available for implementation and use by adjudication practitioners, as well as for inclusion by reference and agreement between contracting parties at the time of contracting.
At the time of drafting our Adjudication Rules, CAASA recognised the existence of a number of such similar standard documents currently available in the industry. However, these documents have been drafted and published to accompany standard sets of construction conditions, such as the JBCC and GCC general conditions. Furthermore, that others of these standards are generic for use internationally and not specifically South African, such as the FIDIC and NEC general conditions. As an association which focuses specifically on construction adjudication in South Africa, we wanted to compile a set of rules which would be versatile, include local ‘best practice’ and would be applicable to all South African construction matters. In addition, we also wanted a standard set of rules which could be adopted for implementation with any set of construction conditions, whether standard or bespoke.
The CAASA Adjudicator’s Appointment and Adjudication Rules have been compiled for Ad-Hoc disputes and adjudications only, this before a single Adjudicator. However, should it so occur the parties are free to refer one or more matters in dispute to the Adjudicator at the time. As such the rules currently do not make provision for a ‘standing’ adjudicator or DAB’s.
The rules were compiled with input and contributions from the CAASA executive, which aimed to include not only due procedure, but also local industry standard and best practices. To ensure ease of use and understanding, CAASA has focused on making use of simple and unambiguous language while drafting the rules. We have also focused on providing the Adjudicator with a clear procedure, while allowing him/her the required flexibility to conduct the proceedings as he/she feels is appropriate under the circumstances. One such provision is that while the timelines for the submission of the referral and response are set, the Adjudicator has the mandate to instruct, or approve a request from either party to provide further details including the time provisions thereof. CAASA believe that such mechanisms are both structured and flexible, which will give the adjudication process and Adjudicator a fair opportunity to correctly evaluate and decide on a matter, while not allowing the process to be drawn out longer than is required.
We trust that these rules will add value to the South African construction adjudication industry, as well as the individual adjudication practitioners. We invite you to implement and test these recently published rules, and welcome your valuable comments, whether positive or negative.
There will no doubt be some errors in this first publication, and we would like to identify and rectify these soonest. Furthermore, we will be going through these rules and discussing them at the AGC later this year, and we would appreciate your feedback on such.