Orla Fitz.Gerald

An interview in our series, 'Spotlighting Adjudicators'

Orla Fitz.Gerald

What were you, professionally, before you started work as an Adjudicator?

Since registering as an architect in 1990, I have worked and lived in Ireland, the UK and the Middle East. I established my own practice in 1998 and have undertaken and complete a wide variety of projects, including EU Bio-science HQ; Industrial; Multi-Residential Developments; Bespoke Office HQ’s; High-End Private Residential; Shopping Centres; Airports; Development Plan Inputs and Local Area Plans. Since 2007, I have completed post-graduate studies particular to construction ADR, and have accepted appointments as Arbitrator, Conciliator, Mediator and as Expert Architect.

How in your view has adjudication changed over your career?

Prior to 2013 in Ireland, adjudication was considered ‘foreign’.  Irish Public and Private Construction Contracts provided for conciliation as part of a stepped dispute resolution process. The Construction Contract Act [2013], (effective 2016), gave access to statutory adjudication for construction payment disputes. Although conciliation remains prevalent, in my view, adjudication is on the increase, particularly between main and sub-contractors.

What advice would you give to 'new' adjudicators?

For non-lawyers, in my view formal legal training is essential. If you have all the necessary credentials, membership of relevant organisations such as the Adjudication Society/CIArb/SCL is beneficial, because it facilitates networking and access to relevant papers. The best advice is to gain experience in all ADR forums, informal pupillage schemes can facilitate but access to same is dependent on your networking abilities!