NEC 3 Option A disputed defects

A scenario - Completion is certified and the contractor is notified of defects, the Contractor disagrees with most of the defects. The Supervisor provides further details of the defects and there are several visits to site with PM, Supervisor and Contractor not able to agree. Some defects are corrected during the correction period but many are not. The Project Manager makes an assessment of the cost for correcting the outstanding defects. The Project Manager notifies the Contractor of the values and that retention will be retained to fund another Contractor undertaking the works. Seven months later (during a global pandemic) the Contractor responses to the PM that they disagree with the validity of some of the defects and the PM assessment of others. What are the next steps available to the parties? Dispute resolution is W2, does this mean that dispute on defects could still go to adjudication 7 months on?

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Adjudication would be the sensible way forward. You would have to follow the rules in the Contract for the appointment of the Adjudicator and the Referral to him.