Construction Disputes

The Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (Construction Act 1996) applies to construction contracts. A construction contract is widely defined in the Construction Act 1996 as an agreement with a person for any of the following:

  • The carrying out of construction operations either by one of the parties or a sub-contractor; or
  • Providing labour for the carrying out of construction operations.

As well as holding up a developer’s progress, construction disputes can cause damage to business relationships and reputations. Common construction disputes include:

  • Claims of negligent work regarding build quality, materials and specifications;
  • Payment disputes between developers and contractors;
  • Errors and disagreements in building contracts.

The Construction Act 1996 is intended to ensure that payments are made promptly and that disputes are resolved swiftly. It includes, for example, the statutory right for parties to a construction contract to refer their dispute to adjudication.

How do you resolve a construction dispute?

Construction disputes can be resolved through negotiation, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or, if necessary, litigation.

Adjudication, a form of ADR, is an effective means of achieving the aim of maintaining cash flow during construction projects. It is also appropriate for resolving financial disputes relating to, for example, delay and disruption claims, extension of time claims and final account disputes.

Under the Construction Act 1996, the statutory right to adjudicate is implied into the contract. The referring party should first give the notice of adjudication to every other party to the contract, and then appoint an adjudicator.

The adjudicator must reach a decision within 28 days of the referral, although the parties may agree to a longer period after referral of the dispute. An adjudicator’s decision is enforceable until the dispute is finally determined by legal proceedings, arbitration or agreement. 

If the losing party does not comply with the adjudicator’s Decision, a party may apply to the Technology and Construction Court to enforce it.

We can act for either the developer or the contractor in a construction dispute. We aim to deliver a swift and economical resolution so you can get your project back on track with minimal fuss.

Can I sue a contractor?

If your contractor does not complete the work to a professional standard, you may be able to make a claim against them based on:

  • Breach of a contractual term (expressed in the contract or implied by statute); and/or
  • Breach of duty of care based on the tort of negligence

In contract, the contractor’s professional standard may be expressed in the contract or implied by statute. For example, it will usually be implied that the service will be carried out with reasonable care and skill.

 In negligence, the standard of care expected of a contractor will be that of the reasonable competent contractor. That standard may be raised higher, for example, if a contractor holds itself out as being a specialist in a particular area.

A successful claim would generally entitle you to monetary damages to compensate you for the loss caused by the contractor’s negligence or breach of contract. For example, as a result of the contractor’s actions, your property value may have decreased or you may have needed to enlist another professional to rectify the situation.

We can act for developers bringing claims of negligent work, or represent contractors defending such claims, as well as providing expert legal advice on the merits of a claim.

How does the Construction Act 1996 affect payment disputes?

For the most part, parties are free to agree to specific payment terms and conditions, including the amount due and when payment becomes due.

However, certain payment provisions set out in the Construction Act 1996 specify the payment terms that a construction contract must contain. If a construction contract does not comply with those payment provisions, the Scheme for Construction Contracts 1998 will imply terms into the contract. It is important to ensure the payment provisions in a construction contract comply with the payment provisions, to avoid consequences which were not intended by either party.

As with other forms of construction disputes, payment disputes can be resolved through adjudication or other forms of ADR, which often provide a quicker and more cost-effective method than litigation.

We can act for a developer or contractor in a payment dispute, as well as providing tailored legal advice on the provisions of your contract.

We’re with you, every step of the way.

We’re here to guide you through the intricacies of litigation, resolve disputes efficiently, and help you achieve your outcome.


Our team is composed of dedicated and accomplished legal professionals, each bringing their unique expertise to the table.

Mustafa Kalaycı
Mustafa Kalaycı
The most honest, hardworking, and fully professional law firm I have encountered or worked with. Despite speaking different languages, they effectively understand you through their interpreters, find the best advisors to assist you, and acquire the necessary information. They create a friendly, family-like atmosphere with a straightforward approach, particularly in litigation expertise. My gratitude goes to all the staff involved, especially James Naylor and Jenny Cheung, for their dedication. Thanks for everything. Mustafa KALAYCI
I used Naylor Solicitors to help us purchase our freehold. It wasn't as straightforward as we'd hoped as the previous freeholder and his solicitors were difficult to deal with (not responding to calls or emails etc,) which delayed things. At one point the freeholder threatened to pull out of the sale despite previously agreeing. Our solicitor Adam was swift in his response, reminding the other side that we had a verbal agreement and that they were risking us taking legal action in that regard. He was then able to make sure the sale went through as agreed. I highly recommend Naylor Solicitors.
Simon Grey
Simon Grey
We found Naylors after talking to a few solicitors and they sounded the most knowledgeable. They helped us with a neighbour dispute. Dominika was fabulous throughout, and we were able to resolve a long standing issue. We would like to thank Dominika for all her help and support.
Simon Hill
Simon Hill
I was the main client contact of 60+ objectors on a breach of restrictive covenants case in Hertfordshire lasting several years. Naylors had been recommended by our QC and were superb throughout. We won the case convincingly. Would certainly recommend them.
Farook Paracha
Farook Paracha
Dedicated and professional firm with the Clients interest at the forefront. Clear and unambiguous advice for a complicated legal matter expanding over several months. Naylor’s agreed to represent us clients at a time when we had completely lost all hope from keeping our property safe from forfeiture. We couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Despite this we always felt confident and in control with the quality of advice and our legal cost. I would definitely recommend Naylor’s LLP to everyone I know. Special thanks to Dominika, Nikki & Jasper. Regards Farook Paracha
Frazer A-F
Frazer A-F
We have been dealing with with Dominika Libova at Naylors for the past year on a dispute, we have been really pleased with the service she has provided. Dominika was approachable, friendly, professional and knowledgable, supporting us every step of the way. Fees were agreed in advance at every stage and where honoured, even reducing fees on a couple of occasions to meet the estimates. I would highly recommend Dominika and the Naylor's team.
Yannick Schindler
Yannick Schindler
Dominika and her firm recently secured a good outcome for me in a property dispute and I highly recommend her. Whenever I spoke with Dominika on the phone, it was very clear to me that she had considered the matter very carefully and I was impressed with her attention to detail. I particularly valued her ability to respond very quickly and pragmatically to new, and sometimes unexpected, developments during litigation. She was also very skilled at developing strategies before and during litigation to achieve desired results while keeping costs low. Dominika made the impression of being a very adept and motivated litigator and throughout the entirety of the matter I was very, very happy to have her in my corner.
claire bryant
claire bryant
From start to end our experience of Naylor solicitors and Dominkia in particular, was faultless. They are a very professional firm. Dominika was incredibly knowledgeable in this specialist area we sought advice in (ROL), listened and acted upon our wishes, but also was very helpful in guiding us in taking the right course of action. Communication was always timely without any delay and she always made the time to explain matters that we needed extra clarification over. I highly recommend.