AN INVESTIGATION OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DISPUTE ADJUDICATION BOARDS TO CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS IN KENYA

ABSTRACT
The construction industry in Kenya has seen an exponential growth in activity both in the public
and private sectors. All parties that take part in the industry rely on the success of activities in the
industry. It is, therefore, important that projects are able to move from their inception stages to
completion stages without any hiccups that may be caused as a result of disputes that may arise
during the course of the projects implementation.
In the past, parties sought redress for disputes in the conventional court systems which proved to
be inefficient for the construction industry because the time taken for legal proceedings in the
court systems is usually inconveniently long and expensive to the parties in terms of litigation
costs as well as the losses incurred while pending determination of the matters before the court.
This brought about the need for Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms that can assist
parties seek solutions to disputes in a timely and cost effective manner. The main method of
dispute resolution tackled in this paper is Adjudication focusing on Dispute Adjudication Boards.
This paper is aimed at analysing the effectiveness of Dispute Adjudication Boards during
construction, making an analysis on the cost versus benefit of Dispute Adjudication Boards and
identifying gaps and weaknesses in the functioning of these boards. Research was carried out in
two stages, oral interviews and administration of questionnaires whose data, provided by two
sets respondents, Adjudicators; and Contractors was analysed.
The data analysis reveals that there is a general consensus that Dispute Adjudication Boards do
offer a viable and acceptable dispute resolution mechanism but only for high value building and
civil engineering projects where losses that may be incurred as a result of delays or disputes are
of high magnitude. It showed that in instances where Dispute Adjudication Boards had been
employed, there were no reported instances of projects stalling as a result of disputes.
It was recommended that training of adjudicators and parties to contracts be carried out to help
create awareness in the operations of Dispute Adjudication Boards hence enhancing their
efficiency and thus their effectiveness.