DRS appointment service 

 At its heart, DRS provides the built environment sector with a private judiciary. In 2023, the DRS Appointment Team processed over 3,300 individual applications for appointments.

 DRS currently holds around 60% of the market share for appointing adjudicators in the construction sector in the UK, and maintaining this share and positive reputation is of great importance. Therefore, a high priority for 2024 is focusing on our adjudication offerings, including improving service and user experience.

 One of our greatest successes is the RICS conflict avoidance process (CAP), which can be used to resolve issues that have the potential to grow into expensive disputes early, quickly and in a cost-effective manner.

In 2023, we were approached separately by two of the UK’s largest infrastructure organisations who wanted to utilise our CAP. We appointed technical experts to help the organisations manage and resolve a wide range of issues. 

Education and training 

The DRS Education Team ensures top-quality and up-to-date training programmes, maintaining high standards for dispute resolvers and expert witnesses. We offer various training programmes, including diplomas in adjudication, arbitration and mediation, as well as certificates in expert witness and expert determination.

 +460 delegates trained internationally

Concerns about the quality of expert witness functions prompted increased support and training efforts. Demand for expert witness training is growing, with expectations for further growth in 2024.

We have also launched a new Dispute Resolution Programme for Advisers and Party Representatives, based on RICS professional standards and guidance. Additionally, we introduced a Women in Construction Scholarship to encourage women’s engagement in adjudication, with 33 applications received and the joint winners announced in May 2024.

Development and research 

 We worked to bring our appointment services and existing and bespoke training programmes to the global market, focusing on Canada, China, India, the Middle East, Oceania and the UK consumer sector.

Canada: in partnership with the ADR Institute of Canada and the ADR Institute of Alberta, DRS was created a nominating authority by the Alberta government. Statutory adjudication is a new process for the province, so for RICS to be part of its development mirrors our role in the UK when adjudication started 25 years ago.

 India: we partnered with the India International Arbitration Centre to offer international and domestic arbitration services in India. Through a signed memorandum of understanding (MoU), we will collaborate to provide training to arbitrators in construction and infrastructure arbitration and establish an arbitration appointment service. Our arbitration panel includes senior RICS surveyors, former justices of Indian High and Supreme Courts, and leading construction arbitrators from the UK. The service aims to provide cost-effective and sector-specific arbitration, addressing the current log-jam and high costs in the Indian construction sector.

Australia: we are pursuing a strategic plan for DRS to be reviewed and revitalised in this region.

UK consumer sector: We worked with Which? to provide a low-cost adjudication process to underpin its Trusted Trader service.

Examples of DRS government, member and stakeholder engagement:

Contributed to the UK government’s consultation on a review of the Arbitration Act 1996. 

Led the RICS response to the Ministry of Justice consultation on increasing the use of mediation in the civil justice system. 

Responded to an Ofcom consultation considering how an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) element of the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 could operate.

Worked closely with the Construction Industry Council on the relaunch of a low-value adjudication initiative.