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The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) operates the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme (IDRS) for the Consumer Code for Home Builders. We caught up with Andy Rogers, Mediator and Principal Consultant at CEDR, to find out more about CEDR’s experience and how the Code’s IDRS operates.

What is CEDR?

CEDR is a not-for-profit organisation largely focused on two forms of dispute resolution – adjudication (a more straightforward way than trial of having an independent adjudicator assess a fair outcome) and commercial mediation (a negotiation facilitated by a neutral mediator).

The organisation was founded just over 30 years ago by a group of forward-thinking litigation lawyers in London who were frustrated by how much effort and resource it took to resolve cases in the UK Courts.

Drawing on best practice from around the world, we have developed new ways to approach the resolution of complaints and disputes, with the aim of finding better paths through conflict to improve outcomes for all.

How does CEDR work with the Consumer Code for Home Builders (CCHB)?

We operate the Code’s IDRS which allows the CCHB to keep the handling of complaints entirely separate from the home building industry itself. This gives both home buyers and builders reassurance that their complaint will be fairly assessed by an experienced adjudicator. The main steps in the process are:

  • The home buyer will prepare their complaint and then the home builder will submit a defence.
  • An independent adjudicator from CEDR will consider what is fair and right under the law and the contract as well as the behaviour of both sides. The adjudicator will then decide if they agree with the home buyer and what the payment or any recompense should be.
  • If the home buyer accepts what the adjudicator decides, the home builder must pay the amount awarded and/or undertake any other remedial action required.
  • If the homeowner does not accept the adjudicator’s decision, they can proceed to court if they wish to.

What do you believe are the main benefits of the Code’s IDRS?

In our experience, preparing cases for adjudication and exchanging information can encourage both sides to negotiate and make offers, so the IDRS does enable the home builder to make offers after they have seen the homeowner’s claim against them before the adjudicator makes their decision. This can result in a more amenable and time efficient resolution for all concerned.

Even in cases where that negotiation doesn’t happen, the IDRS is free for consumers and far more straightforward than going to court, which means having a lawyer involved is not necessary (although the homeowner is free to have a lawyer if they want).

Who else does CEDR work with?

In the last three decades CEDR has become one of Europe’s leading independent dispute resolution centres. CEDR’s consumer services arm provides dispute resolution for more than 35,000 consumer complaints each year in more than a dozen different industries (and over 400,000 in total). These services are delivered in the form of specific schemes that have been developed by CEDR in collaboration with regulators and multiple stakeholders over the last 10 years.  

We provide a range of services for (and in some instances are regulated by) organisations including the Court of Appeal for England & Wales, the NHS, Ofcom, Ofsted, the Civil Aviation Authority, Independent Press Standards Organisation, the Football League, United Nations, UNHCR, World Bank and the European Investment Bank, amongst others.

What information does CEDR provide for home buyers?

More comprehensive information on how the Code’s IDRS works can be found on the CEDR website here:  https://www.cedr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/CCHBIDRS_FAQs_Jan-20-v3.pdf

And more information about the IDRS in general and how to apply can be found here:  https://www.cedr.com/consumer/homes/new-homes/cchbidrs/
For more information about the Code’s complaints process, including what it covers, visit https://consumercode.co.uk/home-buyers/how-are-complaints-dealt-with/

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