The Building and Construction Contracts Act gives a brief outline of the legislation and important information regarding construction disputes. As with other disputes, arbitration must involve both parties to reach an agreement and agree upon a mediator.
Before you engage in the arbitration process, you should be aware of the provisions which you must follow. For example, a dispute resolution process initiated by either party must be undertaken with respect to a matter under investigation or litigation. A notice of arbitration, as well as notice of claim, must be provided to the other party. Both the parties must notify the other party that they will be seeking arbitration prior to initiating a process.
A notice of arbitration must state, in pertinent part: “This arbitration is intended to resolve construction-related disputes between the parties.” If you are involved in a construction dispute and you are seeking advice from an arbitrator, this provision will apply to you. You must state in your notice of arbitration that you will be seeking advice from an arbitrator and state that you will accept service of process from the other party. An arbitrator will make an initial determination as to whether your claim merits arbitration. This determination will be binding arbitration is an option only.
In addition to the parties, the arbitrator must include any third party that may be involved in the dispute, including the lawyer of the parties, or any person, firm, corporation or organization that the parties represent, such as a labor union, employer’s union or other association. Any parties, including the lawyers of the parties, who have been assigned to the case must be informed of this assignment. There is no requirement to include these parties if you are not a party. Parties are generally considered participants only if their actions in the arbitration process may lead to a decision in the parties’ favor. The role of a mediator is limited to participating in the arbitration process, not making a ruling or award. Any mediator cannot make the final decision in the dispute. Neither the parties nor the lawyers of the parties have any right to appeal a mediation decision.
As previously mentioned, parties have no right to appeal any arbitrator’s decision, including the award. Parties must consider appealing the arbitration decision, but cannot take any action to contest it. If a party is represented by a lawyer, they may request a reconsideration of the decision.
If you are involved in a dispute and mediation is requested by one of the parties, you should notify the other parties in writing that you will be seeking arbitration as soon as possible. You should provide details of your request to the mediator. If a party agrees, the mediator will assign an arbitrator to handle your dispute on behalf of both the parties. The mediator will notify the other parties in writing of the assignment of your dispute.