International Construction Law Review


Professor Doug Jones AO2



To mention construction arbitration is to immediately invoke the complexity which comes with construction disputes. They come in many forms, from claims for additional payment by contractors on varying bases, to claims by owners and others in respect of defective performance by contractors and consultants of construction and design work. Such construction disputes by their nature involve a degree of documentary evidence and issues requiring technical expertise that is seldom seen in other kinds of disputes. Exacerbating this is the advent of the “megaproject”, referring to large-scale, costly, and complex infrastructure projects, involving multiple private and public stakeholders.3
Against the background of this factual complexity arises the legal complexity that so often attends construction disputes. Seeing construction projects through to their completion is a behemoth task, which often demands the international cooperation of multiple parties. Gone are the days of simple, two-party construction contracts and a single master builder: the modern construction project involves a complex entanglement of contracts and subcontracts, often with insurers and external financiers required to mitigate against volatile economic, political and climatic conditions.4 Indeed, the ICC estimates that close to 50 per cent of new cases involve three or more parties, with over 20 per cent involving over five parties, ranging from sub-contractors, financiers and insurers to suppliers,


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