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Statutory adjudication in Western Australia: adjudicators’ views

Ping Yung (Department of Construction Management, School of Built Environment, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia.)
Kieran Rafferty (Borrell Rafferty Associates Pty Ltd, Joondalup, Australia)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 19 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of the statutory adjudication legislation in Western Australia against its stated aims.

Design/methodology/approach

The four objectives of the Western Australia Construction Contracts Act 2004 were identified. For each objective a number of criteria has been devised. In total, 22 registered adjudicators were interviewed, representing 28 per cent of all adjudicators in Western Australia. The interviewees were divided into two groups, one with legal background (being both lawyer and adjudicator), the other without (construction professionals). They were asked to evaluate the criteria against a five-point Likert scale in addition to open ended comments. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to examine whether there were significant differences between the two groups. Annual reports of Building Commissioner, database of the WA State Administrative Tribunal and some law cases were also referred to.

Findings

It is found that the West Coast Model is fair to both parties, the adjudications are generally completed speedily according to the prescribed timeframe, and they have been conducted in various levels of formalities. Adjudications are very cost effective for larger claims. However, they are not so for smaller claims. The increasing uptake rate shows that adjudication is getting more popular, while the low appeal rate shows that decisions on dismissal are fair.

Research limitations/implications

The adjudicators’ opinions are only part of the overall picture and that more research on this topic needs to be done.

Originality/value

There have been two distinct legislative models in Australia, commonly known as East Coast Model and West Coast Model. A number of authors have called for a national dual model incorporating both current models. However, it might be too early to discuss the national dual model when there have been very few evaluations on the West Coast Model and among the few there have been problems in the research design. This paper seeks to bridge the gap by evaluating the West Coast Model against its stated aims.

Keywords

Citation

Yung, P. and Rafferty, K. (2015), "Statutory adjudication in Western Australia: adjudicators’ views", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 54-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-03-2014-0033

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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