A contractor has won the right to challenge a £658,000 asbestos survey pay-out made against it by an adjudicator more than six years ago.

The court heard that the contractor had been contacted by a developer to carry out the survey on a block of maisonettes, however the developer later claimed that the contractor had failed to identify all the asbestos on the site, which led to delays and added costs. It referred the dispute to adjudication, claiming £822,482, and under the Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998, the contractor was ordered to pay pay £658,017.

In February 2012, more than six years after the allegedly negligent survey, the contractor issued proceedings to overturn the adjudicator’s decision and recover the payment. It claimed that the contract contained an implied term entitling it to have the adjudicator’s decision finally determined by legal proceedings in court and, if successful, to have the money repaid.

The case went all the way to the Supreme Court which ruled in favour of the contractor. It held that the Scheme for Construction Contracts contained an implied term permitting the contractor to take legal action to challenge the payment. It also held that the limitation period was six years from payment, and that the contractor’s claim was not time-barred.

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