Disputes still growing

Thanks in part to the UK’s construction industry being so litigious, the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) has become an acknowledged world leader in the field of handling technical disputes. Information on how it goes about its work is sought by judges and others in many jurisdictions.

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Trying to pin down excellence

One of the most overworked words in construction marketing literature and branding exercises over the past 20 years has been ‘excellence’. Engineers have always cringed at its use; they, and others, instinctively recognise that what isn’t even defined can’t possibly be measured.

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Disputes likely to rise

The UK construction market comes out comparatively well on some scores in the latest EC Harris Global Construction Disputes report (see News), which suggests that whereas the global average value of sums involved in construction disputes has fallen over the year since the last report, disputes are taking longer to resolve.

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CDM is money well spent

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) have been with us since 1994, since when they have been revised only once, in 2007. The original Regulations had gone some way towards putting responsibility for safety where it could most effectively be handled, starting with the design, while also ensuring that no one in the supply chain, including clients, could wash their hands of safety.

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Time to move on PFI

Some hopes may have been pinned on a road building led economic recovery getting under way this year, particularly after the Chancellor and the Prime Minister made such encouraging noises around the time of the Budget and as far back as the publication of the National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) in 2010.

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Big guns trained on big cases

Help! We are short of judges in the Technology and Construction Court (TCC). There are only four of them in London and they are dealing with nearly double the number of claims that twice as many judges used to handle seven years ago. The judges have responded by kicking a raft of cases of small value out of the High Court to be dealt with by the county court (see News).

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Civil servants to displace consultants

We never seem to be very far away from a promised procurement shake up in central government, and no sooner is one initiative announced than it seems another is upon us. Against that busy background, however, recent weeks have seen an unusually high level of activity.

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Not the last word on PBAs

It is rare for a government procurement initiative to be so well received as has been the announcement that 20% of government construction spending will be routed through Project Bank Accounts (PBAs) within three years (see News).

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Change but no revolution

The long awaited amendments to the Construction Act came into force in England and Wales on 1 October, with Scotland having to wait a month longer before the new regime took effect.

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PFI must make its case

The government appears to have accepted that the UK needs a continuing investment in its transport, education, healthcare and other infrastructure if it is to be in a position to thrive as a modern economy. Yet the economic background is unfavourable in what looks like being at least a few more years of austerity as deficit reducing policies are followed.

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