Conciliation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process whereby the parties refer a dispute to a conciliator.
The Standard Irish Building Contract forms provide conciliation as a dispute resolution process (see extract from Public Works Contract sub-clause 13.1.1 ).
The conciliator generally meets with the parties separately and then, depending upon the issues, will decide whether to bring the Parties together to resolve their differences.
This process is generally seen as less adversarial than other ADR processes, for example, Adjudication, because the conciliator makes a recommendation, but the Parties can reject it. In this way, the Parties retain some control over the process.
Arguably, the commencement of the adjudication procedure under the Construction Contracts Act 2013 has reduced the volume of conciliation. It still, however, provides a valuable procedure to assist in settling parties’ differences.
Each party is responsible for their costs and is jointly and severally liable for the cost of the conciliator.
Having acted in several conciliation hearings over the past 16 years, we can help you prepare for the conciliation and present your position during the conciliation hearing.
Appointment as Conciliator
Mark Etherington is on the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (“SCSI”) conciliation panel and is happy to act as a conciliator.
For all contracts carried out using Public Works Contract (“PWC”) Form PW-CF1 to PW-CF4 where the anticipated Contract Sum will be in excess of €10million, a Standing Conciliator must be appointed by the Parties, from the Starting Date until the Parties agree to terminate the Standing Conciliator’s appointment
Mark is an acting Standing Conciliator under the GCCC form of contract.
Party Representative - Project Board
The PWC also provides for a Project Board, where the parties can nominate up to 3 people to sit on the Project Board.
The sole function of the Project Board is to review disputed Employer Representative Determinations issued under Sub-clause 10.5.4 and 10.5.5 of the Conditions of Contract and referred to the Dispute Management Procedure under sub-clause 13.1 of the Contract, with an intent to negotiate a resolution without the need to formally refer the dispute to conciliation.
It is possible to nominate us as one of the party representatives.
If both parties are willing to engage, conciliation offers the ability to introduce an independent third party to facilitate discussion or make a recommendation on the case’s merits. This can prove very useful at any project stage and allows the Parties to retain relations.
ACUA can review your issues, and provide an early assessment on your contractual entitlements.
We can substantiate your entitlement, draft opening statements and assist your through any conciliation process.
Independent third party
Mark Etherington can act as conciliator. This can be with agreement by both parties, or, application to the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, requesting such appointment.