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Why you should use the ICE Dispute Resolution Services

01 September 2022

Having been appointed chair of the ICE Dispute Resolution Panel, James Golden provides insight into how these valuable services work. 

Why you should use the ICE Dispute Resolution Services
The value of the dispute resolution services mustn’t be underestimated. Image credit: Valeriy T/Shutterstock

The nature of the construction industry means that disputes are virtually inherent.

Therefore, effective mechanisms to manage and resolve these disputes are essential for the efficient running of the industry.

The ICE has been leading in the development of these mechanisms. Most notably, adjudication as we now understand it was born in the ICE.

Today, this work is done within the ICE Dispute Resolution Services branch.

What is the ICE Dispute Resolution Panel (DRP)?

The DRP is responsible for overseeing these services. It provides advice on matters relating to dispute resolution which may affect the ICE and its members.

This blog provides an overview of the panel’s work, ICE-registered dispute resolvers, and the dispute resolution processes available.

What does the ICE Dispute Resolution Panel do?

The DRP that I now chair is made up of eight panel members with experience in varying disciplines. These include barristers, chartered civil engineers, adjudicators, and solicitors.

The panel focuses on:

  • Setting the standards of qualification, training, and experience needed to be included as a registered dispute resolver on the ICE dispute resolution registers.
  • Assessing the eligibility of people applying to join the ICE dispute resolution registers.
  • Dealing with any complaints about ICE register members.
  • Identifying areas for improvement, including new products or services for the ICE Dispute Resolution Services.
  • Organising alternative dispute resolution CPD workshops and seminars.
  • Reviewing the ICE dispute resolution procedure and amending it when necessary.

Who are the ICE dispute resolvers?

ICE-registered dispute resolvers include adjudicators, arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators.

We come from a range of professions including engineers, quantity surveyors and lawyers.

The assessment process to get on the register is very thorough.

All dispute resolvers have demonstrated an extremely high knowledge of the relevant procedural and substantive law, and of commercial, construction and engineering matters.

When anyone wants to find a dispute resolver, the dispute resolution service endeavours to find someone best matched to the specific issue.

How to find the right ICE dispute resolver for you

A form is available to enter your criteria.

Applicants must specify both the type of contract experience needed (NEC, FIDIC, IChemE, RIBA, and so on), as well as the areas of experience required (demolition, geotechnical, temporary works, transport etc).

Once you submit the form, the DRP will use it to match your need with the appropriate register member.

The list of dispute resolvers and their CVs, alongside their contact details, is always available online should anyone wish to engage their services directly.

This reflects the ICE’s commitment to efficiency and transparency in dispute resolution in the construction industry.

How to become a dispute resolver

We welcome applications to the ICE register of adjudicators from anyone with the right experience and qualifications.

The applicant requirements include passing examinations and obtaining certain qualifications.

The specific requirements are:

  • To be a fellow of the ICE, or the Charted Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.
  • To have passed the ICE Law and Contract Management examinations.
  • To have passed the ICE-qualifying examinations (parts 1 and 2) for adjudicators.
  • To have sufficient experience and seniority to discharge the duties of an adjudicator.

However, the dispute resolution service also welcomes enquiries from candidates who don’t yet meet the specific criteria but have either sufficient expertise to discharge the role of a dispute resolver, or are keen to develop their career in that direction.

In fact, recent years have seen many people passing ICE training courses and exams who aren’t engineers and come from diverse backgrounds within the construction industry.

The ICE Law and Contract Management training and exams are a great example of a pathway into the ICE Dispute Resolution Services branch.

The course is immediately beneficial and a commendable bolt-on to any professional experience.

What are the dispute resolution processes?

A comprehensive service of dispute resolution procedures is available under the ICE Dispute Resolution Services, as well as published guidance and procedures.

There’s undoubtedly a procedure to suit any dispute.

The panel encourages anyone involved in disputes to consider their options fully before escalating disputes to formal litigation processes or ruining commercial relationships prematurely.

What dispute resolution services are available?

The services available include:

  • mediation
  • conciliation
  • construction adjudication (including the low-value disputes model adjudication procedure and Crossrail adjudication)
  • arbitration
  • dispute avoidance

Why choose alternative dispute resolution processes?

I hope this gives you a quick insight into all the ways in which the ICE endeavours to make credible dispute resolution accessible within the construction industry.

Alternative dispute resolution procedures are sometimes overlooked as their value isn’t fully understood. That value includes:

  • expedited processes
  • cost-efficiency
  • maintaining relationships in construction projects

The value of the dispute resolution services mustn’t be underestimated.

Particularly given the current state of the industry and the huge pressure on it while it’s hit by the effects of climate change, war, and economic turmoil.

For my part, I’m delighted and honoured to be appointed as chair of the ICE Dispute Resolution Panel.

My aim as chair is to continue to ensure that the DRP (and the ICE-registered dispute resolvers) continue to be a by-word for excellent.

I encourage anyone in the construction industry to explore the ICE Dispute Resolution Services and use us to avoid or resolve your disputes.

Finally, if you’re interested in a career in this area, we are here to help.

ICE Dispute Resolution Panel Recruitment Criteria

Content type: Information

Last updated: 31/08/2022

Author: ICE

  • James Golden, chair at ICE Dispute Resolution Committee