TITLE 37
Public Property and Works

CHAPTER 37-16
Public Works Arbitration

SECTION 37-16-2


§ 37-16-2 Contract provision for arbitration.

(a) A provision in a written contract executed on or after January 1, 1962, for the construction, alteration, repair, or painting of any public building, sewer, highway, bridge, water treatment or disposal projects one party to which is the state, a city, a town, or an authority, a board, a public corporation, or any similar body created by statute or ordinance or any committee, agency, or subdivision of any of them, to settle by arbitration any dispute or claim arising out of or concerning the performance or interpretation of the contract shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon grounds existing in law or equity for the revocation of the contract.

(b)(1) Every contract for the construction, alteration, repair, painting, or demolition of any public building, sewer, water treatment or disposal project, highway, or bridge one party to which is the state, a city, a town, or an authority, a board, a public corporation, or any similar body created by statute or ordinance or any committee, agency, or subdivision of any of them which has a contract price of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more and which is executed on or after July 1, 1967, shall contain a provision for arbitration of disputes and claims arising out of or concerning the performance or interpretation of the contract as follows:

(2) "All claims, disputes, and other matters in question arising out of or relating to this contract or the performance or interpretation thereof shall be submitted to arbitration. Arbitration shall be commenced by a demand in writing made by one party to the contract upon the other within a reasonable time after the dispute, claim, or other matter in question arose but in no event after payment in full of the contract price has been made and accepted. The written demand shall contain a statement of the question to be arbitrated and a detailed statement of each item or matter in dispute and the name of the arbitrator appointed by that party. The other party to the contract within ten (10) days of the receipt of the written demand shall appoint an arbitrator and give notice in writing thereof to the party who commenced arbitration. The two (2) arbitrators appointed by the parties shall within ten (10) days of the date of the appointment of the second arbitrator select a third arbitrator who shall be designated as chairperson and who immediately shall give written notice to the parties of his or her appointment. The third arbitrator shall select a time, date, and place for hearing and give each party five (5) days notice in writing thereof. The date for hearing shall not be more than fifteen (15) days after the date of appointment of the third arbitrator. The award shall be made promptly by the arbitrators and, unless otherwise agreed by the parties or specified by law, no later than thirty (30) days from the date of closing the hearing, or, if oral hearings have been waived, from the date of the transmittal of the final statements and proofs to the arbitrators. The award shall be in writing and shall be signed by a majority of the arbitrators. It shall be executed in the manner required by law. The arbitrator shall provide a written explanation of the reasoning for the award. In the event the party of whom arbitration is demanded shall fail to appoint his or her arbitrator within the time specified or the two (2) arbitrators appointed by the parties are unable to agree on an appointment of the third arbitrator within the time specified, either party may petition the presiding justice of the superior court to appoint a single arbitrator who shall hear the parties and make an award as provided herein. The petitioner shall give five (5) days notice in writing to the other party before filing his or her petition."

(c) Any dispute involving claims less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) and associated with construction of a highway or bridge as referred to in subsection (b) shall be submitted to arbitration. Any dispute involving claims of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or more and associated with construction of a highway or bridge as referred to in subsection (b) shall only be arbitrated with the consent of the parties. If the parties fail to consent to arbitration and the state of Rhode Island is a party to the dispute, then the claim will proceed in accordance with § 37-13.1-1.

(d) For the purposes of this section, the term "claims" shall not mean the aggregate amount sought under the contract or in the arbitration, but shall refer specifically to each item or matter in dispute for which additional compensation is sought or for each item for which a credit is sought.

(e) Notwithstanding subsection (a) or (b) of this section, if any contract except for highway and bridge contracts provides for an arbitration procedure, and a method of appointment of an arbitrator or arbitrators, that method shall be followed instead of the method provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(f) This section shall apply to all written contracts executed on or after January 1, 1986.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1967, ch. 165, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 430, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 479, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 141, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 207, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 116, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 377, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 337, § 1.)