Q-Construct to offer processes for ascertaining contractual entitlements
Held in Doha in January, the second Eversheds Construction Seminar focused on features of the draft rules of new sector dispute resolution entity Q-Construct. Under the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre (QICDRC), Q-Construct has been modelled on the Technology and Construction Court in the UK, and should have a positive impact on project delivery, especially in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup.
Speaking exclusively with The Edge, Nick Pinder, associate at law firm Eversheds, also said that by addressing the issue of payments, Q-Construct will ease project delivery.
“Our experience of acting for a wide range of organisations throughout the supply chain in Qatar (and the wider region) is that payment, both in terms of an amount to be paid and the timing of payment, is one of the most significant challenges facing parties involved in construction and engineering projects,” said Pinder.
He added that Q-Construct will offer a fast, cost-effective and fair process for ascertaining the contractual entitlements and obligations of parties to a construction contract such as how much money one party is obliged to pay and how much money the other party is entitled to receive.
This, according to Pinder, should assist the contractor with its cash flow, which will flow down through the rest of the supply chain. It will also assist the client and the project generally in enabling contested issues to be resolved efficiently. The aim is for the project to keep moving (as opposed to being held up by disputes) which thereby prioritises timely completion.
Commenting on the lessons that Q-Construct has drawn from the Technology and Construction Court in the United Kingdom (UK), Pinder said that adjudication in the UK has been criticised for becoming too complex and increasingly akin to court or arbitration proceedings, often with significant involvement of lawyers and the use of lengthy pleadings.
Q-Construct will ascertain the contractual entitlements and obligations of parties to a construction contract.
“This could be said to have happened at the expense of speed and cost effectiveness although the process is still faster and cheaper than other more formal processes,” added Pinder. An example of Q-Construct seeking to deal with issues of the speed of the process and its costs is in placing limits on the amount of printed material each party can submit to the adjudicator.
Recommendations and role of Q companies
Eversheds is one of the law companies making recommendations to Q-Construct, said Pinder. “With the support of highly specialised and experienced judges in the QICDRC, the consulting companies provide a robust framework for adjudication,” he added. “I do believe there is scope for further discussion around the fact that where the parties amend the rules, they cease to have the benefit of the services offered by the QICDRC. In addition and perhaps most importantly, the QICDRC will cease to have the role of supervisory court, something that could be critical when it comes to enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision.”
Q-Construct requires the buy-in from contracting parties by way of a written agreement. Hopefully, said Pinder, ‘Q’ companies will embrace the concept of adjudication and see the benefit that it brings to their projects and the industry in enabling efficient resolution of project-threatening disputes.