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#InspireInclusion in Construction Dispute Resolution

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#Inspirienclusion in Construction Dispute Resolution - An International Women's Day article my Emma Payne of Quigg Golden


#InspireInclusion in Construction Dispute Resolution 


International Women’s Day is upon us, and in the spirit of inspiring inclusion (which is this year’s International Women’s Day theme) we wanted to take a look at the involvement of women in the construction industry, and specifically at those in alternative dispute resolution.  This article recognises some ways that the construction industry (a historically male dominated sector) has evolved in recent decades, both through legislation and how female contribution is increasing.  We look at some statistics about women in construction adjudication and have taken this opportunity to re-introduce and celebrate some of our own women in the field.   

Evolution in the Construction Sector 

In just over two decades, we have seen significant changes to the landscape of the construction industry, and many of these changes have been resultant of the Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 in the United Kingdom, and the Construction Contracts Act 2013 in Ireland.  These pieces of legislation have introduced payment protection mechanisms for the supply chain by prohibiting “pay-when-paid” contract terms and affording a statutory right of suspension for non-payment.  Further, the legislation has reformed the dispute resolution landscape by introducing statutory adjudication for construction contracts, meaning that all parties have a guaranteed avenue for the speedy resolution of their disputes.   

Fast forward to the present day and we can still see changes incoming for the industry.  Talk of mandatory mediation across all sectors means that the construction industry’s ears should certainly be peaked, and the increasing attention to the importance of net zero targets shows that construction practices are evolving too – which is only consolidated by the likes of the NEC Secondary Option Clause X29.  The Building Safety Act 2022 is also driving culture changes in the industry by implementing new rules around building and fire safety requirements, and even introducing new requirements for higher-risk buildings that will demand careful consideration to be given the contract management and programming for those buildings in the construction phase.  

Thankfully legislative changes and attention to climate change is not the only change we have seen in the industry in recent years.  In October 2023, Construction News reported that: 

“Women now make up a higher proportion of the construction workforce that at any time since official records began”

Taking data from the Office for National Statistics, Construction News shared that 15.8% of the construction workforce was female in April 2023 to June 2023, whereas pre-Covid this figure was closer to 12.6%.  This increase is encouraging, albeit still telling of a female minority.  Concerningly, the 2023 report on construction adjudication released by the Adjudication Society and Kings College London2 (“the 2023 Report”) revealed that only 7.88% of adjudicators are women – and it is women in construction dispute resolution that we are really looking at today. 


Construction Dispute Resolution and Female Players 

Despite the rather sad statistics around women in construction adjudication, there are a few initiatives that have been set up to promote women in the construction dispute resolution industry.  Perhaps most notably, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (“RICS”) has offered a free scholarship for its RICS Diploma in Adjudication commencing in June 2024 which is open for women working in the construction sector who have an ambition to partake in dispute resolution, specifically adjudication.  Part of the application process for the scholarship includes writing a short essay, and whilst the topic is optional, it must be related to the role, challenges and advancement of women in the sector, consolidating the importance of advocacy for women in construction.   

The Adjudication Society has established a Women in Adjudication group and The Equal Representation in Adjudication Pledge3 with the view to achieving its objective to increase the number of female adjudicators to 30%.4  The 2023 Report revealed that only 45% of respondents did not sign this pledge.  So, get to it! 

The participation of women in construction dispute resolution does not begin, nor end, with adjudication.  We must not forget other avenues such as mediation, conciliation and party representatives.  Unfortunately, there is not a lot of readily available diversity and inclusion statistics around what percentage of mediators, conciliators and party representatives in the UK and Ireland are women, so we have decided to champion our own women for the remainder of this article.  

The Quigg Golden Team 

In Quigg Golden we are very proud to have a team that is as equally represented by females as it is males, and this is true at all levels of the business. 

Claire McCarry BSc (Hons), MRICS, DipAdj, LLB(Hons) – Director 

Claire has over 15 years’ experience in the commercial management and procurement of major construction projects working as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and now specialises in contract management and dispute resolution.  Claire’s technical skills coupled with her legal expertise has not only procured an impressive client base, but it has also secured her appointment to the RICS panel of adjudicators, UK Adjudicators panel and the Society of Construction Law NI committee.   

Whilst Claire has an impressive portfolio of continued professional development across several institutions, she is also focused on contributing to promoting diversity and inclusion in the industry, whether this is by promoting the RICS Women in Construction Scholarship, or her mentorship of other women in the sector, her involvement with women’s network groups and speaking engagements promoting the industry to the next generation.  

Colleen McNamee BA (Hons) RegPM IAP2 – Practice Manager 

Responsible for our operational support functions across the business, Colleen brings over 10 years’ experience in the construction industry and government sector in the UK and Australia.  She has been involved in innovative gender diversity and inclusivity strategies in the construction industry; centred on educating girls in STEM subjects from primary school age, providing apprenticeships for women in historically male dominated roles, and offering training opportunities for women to further their careers. 

“As a woman who is part of the Leadership Team at Quigg Golden, I am proud to say we are an inclusive firm, who celebrate the diversity of our team and recognise their valuable contribution to our success. This International Women’s Day we recognise in particular, our talented women; collectively we can all #InspireInclusion.” 

Claire Graydon LLB (Hons) MSc – Senior Associate 

Following law studies at the University of the West of England, University College Dublin and the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Claire began her legal career working for a boutique law firm in Dublin.  Claire developed a keen interest in procurement during her master’s and completed a dissertation on social values in public procurement. 

Claire regularly provides advice on both contentious and non-contentious procurement issues and works on behalf of contracting authorities to draft, implement and manage entire procurement processes.  Not only is Claire our designated expert on procurement matters, but she is also a qualified solicitor and is experienced in contentious matters, including recently advising on a final account dispute with a total contract value of €9 million.   

Diana Pinzaru LLB(Hons) LLM – Associate  

Diana previously worked as a trainee in-house lawyer for an international firm, representing clients in a broad range of commercial cases.  After completing her master’s degree with Distinction in Business Law, she joined our construction law team.  Her experience ranges across a broad range of construction issues, from due diligence investigations to post-closing matters.   

Emma Payne LLB (Hons) ACIArb CLCM – Junior Associate 

Since graduating from law at Queen’s University Belfast, Emma has gained significant experience in both contentious and non-contentious construction and procurement law matters.  Emma has represented clients in various forms of dispute resolution and represents both referring and responding parties in adjudication.   

Emma is also a qualified commercial and civil mediator, an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and mentors other women via the Queen’s University Belfast Women in Law programme.   


We hope that we have helped to #InspireInclusion this International Women’s Day.  Whilst there has been significant improvement in the recognition and participation of women in the construction industry, the statistics above show that there is also a long way to go.  We will continue to do our part to promote diversity and inclusion, for women and for everyone, and we hope that you will too.   

As always, if there is anything that we can be of assistance with, please do not hesitate to get in touch – the contact details for our talented cohort of women are available on our website at   

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