Construction Disputes

Metcalfes' construction team is aware that disputes in this field can be, and often are, extremely expensive. It involves highly technical issues of the law, and often involve other parties with their own legal team. In these circumstances, it is vital to take a sensible commercial, pragmatic approach.

Metcalfes' construction team are aware of the commercial realities of construction disputes, and that early resolution is in the best interest of our clients.

We are therefore keen to promote mediation as a method for resolving disputes, which may well be attractive from a commercial perspective, compared to issuing Court proceedings.

It is a method that can preserve commercial confidentiality, and is increasingly encouraged by the Courts, as parties who refuse to engage in mediation may find that they suffer costs penalties if the matter is subsequently litigated.

Areas the team can advise on includes:

  • Adjudication and Arbitration
  • Insured risks
  • Defects
  • Payment disputes
  • Professional liability
  • Engineering claims
  • Claims by third parties
  • Claims against Construction Professionals e.g. architects, engineers


This is a very common method of resolving construction disputes and building contracts will commonly provide for this method of dispute resolution.

The aim is for adjudication to provide a fast answer to a dispute, which is binding on the parties, and which can be enforced through the High Court.

The Adjudicator will set the procedure, and commonly will determine the outcome on the basis of written submissions.

Adjudications, although now the common method of dealing with construction disputes, can be highly technical, and involve complex questions of law. The consequences of an adverse ruling in an adjudication can be, and often is, very serious.

Our team will be able to take you through the whole process, ensuring that full arguments are put to the Adjudicator, whether you are the Applicant or the Respondent to the procedure.


Arbitration is also a common method of dispute resolution which is often found in building contracts.

The essence of arbitration is that it is a private method of dispute resolution, and the Arbitrator will be a construction professional who would be expected to understand the technical issues.

However, arbitration can be, and often is, an expensive method of dispute resolution, and our team can lead you through the minefields of this procedure.

Court Proceedings

Genuine construction disputes are dealt with in the Technology & Construction Court (TCC) of the High Court and will be subject to the Pre-Action Protocol for Construction and Engineering Disputes.

If the building contract does not provide for adjudication or arbitration, then Court proceedings are the alternative route for dealing with disputes.

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