Construction Contracts Act 2013 – Timeline

Adjudication process

The Construction Contracts Act 2013, introduced adjudication. The timeline below is an example of the several stages of an adjudication, which is not an exhaustive list, as it will depend upon how the case is presented and whether there are other issues which may delay each stage.  

The period for the preparation of the referral document will depend upon the complexity of the payment claim. 

Each time period is indicative only, and will be set by the adjudicator. The overall period however, is as set out in the Act, where periods can only be changed with the agreement of the referring party (for an extension of 14 days) or both parties (for any additional extension), after the payment dispute has been referred to the adjudicator.

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Construction Contract Act 2013 - Adjudication Timeline

Referral Document
1. Preparation of Referral Document

Before you issue your notice of intention to refer, you should have completed your referral document. This document sets out the background of the dispute, the contractual framework, and details substantiating your claim.

Start of adjudication
2.Notice of Intention to refer a payment dispute

To commence a reference to adjudication, a party will have to issue a notice of intention to refer a payment dispute under the CCA. 

Appointing an Adjudicator
3. Appointment of Adjudicator

The adjudicator can be agreed by both parties or where the parties cannot agree, the referring party will apply to the nominating body named in the contract.


Issue referral document
4. Referring Party issues their Referral Document

Once the adjudicator is appointed, the Referring Party is required to issue the Referral document within 7 days of the Adjudicator's appointment, issued to both the adjudicator and the other party (the "Responding Party").

The date the Referral is issued dictates the start of the 28 days timetable. Thereafter, the timetable can then only be revised by agreement of the Referring Party by up to 14 days, or longer by agreement of the Parties.


+ 7 to 14 days
5. Responding Party's response

The Responding Party generally has 7-14 days in which to respond.  

The response is likely (but not always) to include a counter claim. 

The counter claim may not necessarily have been provided to the Referring Party before the commencement of the adjudication.

+ 5 days
6. Possible Reply to response and Rejoinder

If the responding party's response includes a counter claim, the referring party will have an opportunity to issue a response to the counter claim.


Depending upon the Adjudicator's directions, the Responding Party may be afforded a further opportunity to issue a rejoinder on the Referring Party's reply.

Hearing or further exchanges
7. Possible meeting/further exchanges

The adjudicator having received all of the documents which the parties wish them to consider, will then determine whether they can make a decision, based on the documents only or whether there are issues of fact which would need to be considered at a meeting. 

Equally, either party may apply to the adjudicator to request a meeting. It should be noted that all exchanges are to be issued to both parties simultaneously.

If a meeting is required, depending upon the issues, the parties may have legal representation. The meeting is convened for the benefit of the adjudicator to understand all of the issues. 

Adjudicators decision
8. Adjudicator's Decision

Essentially, a payment dispute which is adjudicated upon will result in an award to one of the parties which will (in most cases) require a payment, therefore it is essential that you present the best possible case.

The process itself is designed to be quick 28 days from the referral (or such period longer period as may be agreed by the referring party or both parties after the dispute has been referred).

Section 6 of CCA, the decision of the adjudicator, if binding, shall, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, be treated as binding on them for all purposes and may accordingly be relied on by any of them, by way of defence, set-off or otherwise, in any legal proceedings

A losing party therefore cannot ignore the adjudicator decision. 

“...In brief, this legislation allows for the possibility of the making of, and enforcement of, adjudications in construction disputes on an expedited basis. Such adjudications are binding pending the resolution of the dispute between the parties by way of arbitration or legal proceedings. See section 6(10) of the Act as follows ---“

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