A report from think tank Reform says the public have a feeling that the State simply isn’t working. While that view might be overstating the case a bit, public procurement certainly isn’t working as it should, as Reform’s report An efficiency mindset: prioritising efficiency in Whitehall’s everyday work, convincingly argues.
Procurement slammed in Edinburgh Tram inquiry report
Editor Nick Barrett laments the ‘litany of failures’ identified in Lord Hardie’s report into the Edinburgh Tram fiasco. Lessons must obviously be learned for future procurements; but none of them are new.
Our news round up highlights the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry report that lays bare procurement and procurement inadequacies; the Court of Appeal allows a challenge to Sizewell C to proceed; and Transport Scotland caves into industry pressure and will use NEC4 on the Tomatin to Moy section of the A9.
Legal terms explained
Our latest Legal Terms Explained series article from Georgia Di Salle of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP looks at Expert Evidence.
Climate Change, Carbon Emissions, and the Construction Industry
Guest Editors Vanessa Alarcon Duvanel, Alex Levin Canal and Alexandra Gerdes of King & Spalding LLP suggest that contractual incentives to get to net zero are a parallel and possibly faster, more flexible and less burdensome option to promote sustainable behaviour.
Legislation state of play table
Our regular update of the progress of legislation and government procurement related developments compiled by Construction Law staff.
Reports from the courts
Our round up of the cases of most interest to construction comes from Andrew Croft and Ben Spannuth of Beale & Company Solicitors LLP who report on a decision that shows the importance of limitation periods; and an appeal court ruling that confirms the duties owed to developers under s1(1) of the DPA. Previously, developers struggled to pursue claims against subcontractors/subconsultants under the Defective Premises Act
A recent decision from the Scottish Court of Session suggests that Scottish and English courts are now aligned in assigning primacy to the written word in contract interpretation, as Katherine Doran and Dylan Higgins of DWF LLP explain.
The latest in our regular Construction Law Guides series comes from Joanne Bennett of DLA Piper, who examines legal issues relating to construction sites, including access, responsibility for the site, unforeseen conditions and ownership of materials on site.
Building Safety Act 2022: remediation orders and the implications for the construction sector
Pauline Lam of Russell-Cooke and Robert Bowker of Tanfield Chambers examine the first Remediation Order under the Building Safety Act 2022, which is expected to have significant implications for the construction industry. The decision provides important guidance on issues relating to building safety defects and remediation under the Act.
Breaking the mould: water ingress building defects and black mould
Modern houses can be dangerous places to live, placing increasing stress on efficiently supervising construction. Philip Bambagioti of 3PB examines the potentially fatal consequences of failure to build to prevent black mould forming in the event of water ingress.
Appeal court backs adjudicator’s decision
Stephanie Geesink and Dom Turner-Harriss of Watson Farley & Williams take a detailed look at a successful appeal against a Technology and Construction Court decision reported on earlier this year. No breach of natural justice was created when an adjudicator decided he was bound by an earlier adjudication decision, the appeal court ruled.
Appeal court decision shows risks of bespoke contract terms
Cheryl Ferguson of Dentons UK and Middle East LLP provides a round up of recent decisions relating to adjudication. Among the conclusions to be reached is that there are very few circumstances in which an adjudication decision will not be enforced.
Damage by Ground Movement
Insurance expert John D Wright of JD Risk Associates examines the issues surrounding damage to property caused by ground movement. Changing insurers can create problems he warns, as the effects of subsidence can continue over long periods.
Alternative dispute resolution
Boosting the appeal of London as a leading dispute resolution centre
Tracey Summerell and Akin Akinbode of Dentons UK and Middle East LLP examine the Arbitration Bill which they say strikes a careful balance between reform and maintaining the Act’s reliable status quo.
It has been obvious for some years that things had gone badly wrong at the Edinburgh Tram Project: any project that doubles in price and is delivered 12 years late despite having been significantly cut back in scope has obviously gone off the rails.
The promise made by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2020 to build 40 “new hospitals” by 2030 was unlikely to have been taken seriously by many at the time.
Announcing net zero carbon plans with target dates for achieving them – such as those of the UK government in 2021 – was always recognised as being ambitious. The UK became the first country to enshrine the goals in law, so was obviously staking a bit of reputation on achieving them.
Making developers and their suppliers pay for their role in creating buildings of such a dangerous quality that inhabitants die when fire spreads too easily within them, which is what happened at Grenfell Tower, is proving to be a difficult job. And it looks unlikely to get any easier.
To even the most casual observer of the UK’s public sector procurement performance it must be obvious that something, or more probably things, is seriously wrong. The stop-start approach to bringing HS2 into Central London at Euston station on cost grounds, even though government ministers admit that this will lead to greater long run costs, is not untypical.
Rarely has the need for speed in increasing investment in the UK’s infrastructure been more evident, but prevarication and delay seems to be the order of the day.
Science, technology and innovation are at the heart of the UK’s future and procurement and infrastructure policies have key roles to play in producing the necessary conditions for fostering them, say former Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Conservative Party leader William Hague in a joint report.
The government’s response to the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people died has at last been announced, and there has clearly been a considerable shift in approach to how to prevent another disaster and in who should pay.