Irish Ayes

harpSome of you may not be familiar with the Iris Oifigiúil. And why should you be?

It is the Irish State Gazette, and has just published a list of the newly appointed Construction Contracts Adjudication Panel, good for the next 5 years. It suggests that Ireland might, without undue haste[1], be moving towards commencement of its Construction Contracts Act 2013. Interestingly, about 1/3 of the panel is based outside the Republic of Ireland – mostly England but a couple from Northern Ireland and one from Scotland[2].

Rather smart, I would say. It is tempting for small jurisdictions to be parochial, but experience from all sorts of disciples – music, politics, cuisine, medicine, sex, horticulture, literature, science and pretty much everything else one can think of – benefits from Continue reading

Pay now, Argue Later

buy now pay laterI coined the expression “Pay now, argue later” to describe the adjudication process in early 1996 during discussions with Lord Howie of Troon in the tea room at the House of Lords. Lord Howie was a Scottish engineer, picking up the recommendation in Sir Michael Latham’s Report to introduce an adjudication scheme into construction contracts, and very sensibly sought the input of TeCSA as to how this might best be done. I was advising him to stay clear of his initial idea of making the adjudicator’s decision final and binding, on the basis that if it was final and binding, it would be impossible to prevent the courts from placing all sorts of obstacles in the way of enforcement.  It was a play on the old hire purchase slogan: “Buy now, pay later”.  I said that if an adjudication loser was obliged to pay up, without prejudice to its right to then fight it out in the courts or arbitration to try to get it back, that would achieve the objective we were looking for, but minimising the risk of court interference. It would be rare, I predicted, that this right to “argue later” would be used very much in practice.  Happily, Continue reading

Designing Building Wiki

robinThe Christmas break gave me the opportunity to send out some change of address and e-Christmas cards, and hence catch up with some old friends. Being a bit of a programming geek, I did it from my home-made Visual FoxPro application, so if you are someone I missed, Happy Christmas!

One such old friend was David Trench, who did brilliant work in London in the 1990s rescuing the British Library from construction disaster and making the construction of the Millennium Dome (as it then was) a success. Working with him was a great pleasure, as is working with people with huge talent usually is; he introduced me to working for the UK Government which turned out, to my surprise, to be great: the people I came into contact with in central government were not Sir Humphrey at all, but smart, effective, pleasant and flexible (they wanted to know exactly why I suggested particular courses of action, especially if they were novel, but having got the explanation, they always said, “Yes, let’s do it”).

More recently, David has been much involved with the Designing Buildings Wiki, who have asked if they might pick up some material from this site, starting with Continue reading