Construction Law: December 2017

Editor’s comment
More adjudicators needed
The costs of adjudication are under scrutiny in a government consultation, but editor Nick Barrett says rising costs do not justify more use of inexperienced and therefore cheaper adjudicators – yet.

News
Our regular news round up focusses on new research into adjudication fees; new rules for leniency applications from cartels; and a report on the impact of retentions on the industry.

Legal terms explained
Summary judgment is explained by Philip Parrott and Michael Mendelblat of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

Guest editor
Remember: always read the contract
Guest editor Michael Sharp of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP says a recent Supreme Court warning to always read the contract should be taken to heart by lawyers as well as signatories to contracts. Parties are free to allocate risk as they see fit, and the courts will uphold such clauses.

Legislation state of play table
Clyde & Co present our regular round up of the progress of legislation affecting construction as it passes through the UK and EC legislative systems. Ian Boyle provides a commentary on the interim National Infrastructure Assessment.

Reports from the courts
Our regular round up of the court cases of most interest to construction comes from Andrew Croft and Simii Sivapalan of Beale & Company Solicitors LLP and focuses on a case highlighting that a high burden of proof of oppressive and unreasonable behaviour will be needed to obtain injunctive relief on those grounds in adjudication.

Contracts monitor
Guidance Notes seldom read
Our contracts monitor Michael Phipps, Principal of Thurston Consultants, concludes his scrutiny of the JCT’s Repair and Maintenance Contract (Commercial) 2016 with a warning that contracts must be read as they change to reflect new legislation and insurance practice.

CL guides
Guide to defects provisions in contracts
Sarah Nunnery-Jones of DLA Piper continues our Construction Law Guides series with a look at defects provisions in the main contract forms.

Contracts
NEC4 increases consultants’ risk
Will Buckby and Andrew Croft of Beale & Company Solicitors LLP examine the new NEC4 Professional Services Contract and find the changes from the previous contract to be more than simply an evolution. Consultants face increased potential risk, they warn.

Private finance
Bringing existing PFI contracts back in-house
Private finance initiative contracts came under threat during the party-political conference season. Davinia Cowden of CMS details the practical problems that would be faced in bringing them back into public ownership.

Exemption clauses
Exemption clauses, risk allocation and ordinary language
Joanne Maclean and Suriya Edwards of Geldards LLP analyse a recent case that underlines the courts’ support for clauses in contracts that are negotiated between parties of equal bargaining power.

Duty of care
The Bolam test and Montgomery in construction
David Pliener of Hardwicke examines a court ruling in a healthcare industry dispute that has potential implications for the duty of care owed by professionals in construction. A construction test case is inevitable soon, he warns.

Insurance
Contractors’ product liability
Insurance expert John D Wright of JD Risk Associates details what is covered under contractors’ product liability policies. Cover for damage to the product itself is usually excluded, but separate cover is available.

Alternative dispute resolution
NEC4 – embracing ADR?
Russell Banfi of Clyde & Co analyses some little reported features of the new NEC4 suite of contracts relating to dispute resolution and avoidance in our latest alternative dispute resolution series. Some new issues are raised, he argues.

Wales commits to project bank accounts

Plans to introduce project bank accounts (PBAs) on building projects funded by the Welsh Government with a value of £2M or more have been welcomed by the construction industry.

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Olympic stadium transformation disputes revealed

Balfour Beatty made two requests for more money and came close to adjudication as its transformation of London’s Olympic stadium suffered soaring project costs, a new report has revealed.

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Company fined after road worker death

A highway maintenance firm will have to pay over half a million pounds following the death of a worker who was struck by a passing vehicle while carrying out road repairs.

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Remember: always read the contract

The latest issue issue of Construction Law – Vol 28 No 10 – is arriving on subscriber’s desks now, featuring need-to-know analysis and news of some key industry developments.

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Concrete firm boss must pay Multiplex £4M

A High Court judge has ruled in favour of Multiplex in its battle to recover cash it advanced to concrete frame firm Dunne Building and Civil Engineering (DBCE) before the sub-contractor collapsed last year.

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Contractor urges defence procurement reform

Balfour Beatty has called for reform to the way construction and infrastructure services are procured by the defence sector in a new report.

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Reports from the courts: December 2017

Our regular round up of the court cases of most interest to construction comes from Andrew Croft and Simii Sivapalan of Beale & Company Solicitors LLP and focuses on a case highlighting that a high burden of proof of oppressive and unreasonable behaviour will be needed to obtain injunctive relief on those grounds in adjudication.

This story is only available to subscribers to the printed edition of Construction Law. If you have a subscription please log in to read the rest of the story.

Remember: always read the contract

Guest editor Michael Sharp of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP says a recent Supreme Court warning to always read the contract should be taken to heart by lawyers as well as signatories to contracts. Parties are free to allocate risk as they see fit, and the courts will uphold such clauses.

This story is only available to subscribers to the printed edition of Construction Law. If you have a subscription please log in to read the rest of the story.