Ontario Construction News staff writer
Adjudication fees and processes under the new Ontario Construction Act have been designed to allow relatively small disputes to be resolved quickly and inexpensively, according to information provided by Elinor Whitmore, who leads the Authorized Nominating Authority (ANA) for adjudicators, now called Ontario Dispute Adjudication for Construction Contracts (ODACC).
At the Ontario General Contractors’ Association (OGCA) presentation about the Construction Act last Thursday, she outlined the sliding scale of fees and procedures for adjudications, noting that both parties share equally in the cost in most cases. All dispute filings must include a copy of the construction contract and the “proper invoice”.
If the parties and adjudicator do not mutually agree on another amount, disputes under $9,999 will have a flat fee of $800, with Predesigned Process I, which limits the filings to written documents no greater than two pages maximum per party, with a one-to-two page decision.
For disputes between $10,000 and $24,999 (Process 2), the adjudicator’s fee is set at $1,000 ($500 to each party). Filings can be a little larger – reaching as much as five pages for each party – but the adjudicator will only write a one-to-two page decision.
For disputes between $25,000 and $34,999 (Process 3), the adjudicator will charge $2,000 ($1,000 to each party). At this level, in addition to the core five-page filings, the parties can submit additional materials including parts of documents and witness statements to a maximum of five pages.
From $34,999 and $49,000 (Process 4), the fee will be $3,000 ($1,500 each party) and the additional documentation can reach 10 pages. The adjudicator can also elect to hold a hearing (no more than 30 minutes long) with oral presentations by telephone or video conference, but not in person.
After $50,000 the model shifts to an hourly fee:
- Disputes from $50,000 to $249,000 will have a $250 adjudication hourly fee;
- Disputes from $250,000 to $499,000 will have a $400 hourly fee;
- Disputes from $500,000 to $999,999 will have an hourly rate of $500; and
- Disputes greater than $1 million will have $750 hourly rate.
As well at these higher levels, there can be in-person hearings, site visits, and additional expert consultation and witnesses, which would add to the costs.