Construction Law: October 2020

Editor’s comment
A persuasive influence worth holding on to?
Editor Nick Barrett says a recent decision of Scotland’s Inner House, which will be persuasive but not binding elsewhere in the UK, highlights something that could be lost if apparently growing support for Scottish independence results in the break up of the UK.

Our regular news round up features changes to mediation and arbitration rules at the London Court of International Arbitration; government moves to give the effect of law to Covid related guidance; and a call for open book rather than fixed price contracting from Build UK.

Legal terms explained
Olivia Liang of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP explains what is meant by Quantum Meruit.

Guest editor
How to save money in disputes and/or arbitration
Guest Editor Iain Wishart draws on his long experience of managing major construction projects worldwide to advise how best to avoid disputes arising and ending up in lengthy arbitration.

Legislation state of play table
Our regular round up of the progress of legislation affecting construction as it passes through legislatures comes from Dentons UK and Middle East LLP. A commentary from Tracey Summerell examines the Draft Building Safety Bill.

Reports from the courts
Our regular round up of court decisions of the most interest to construction comes from Andrew Croft and Ben Spannuth of Beale & Company Solicitors LLP, focussing on one that highlights the importance of defining design life requirements within contracts; and a Supreme Court ruling that means insolvency practitioners can use adjudication to pursue claims .

New edition playbook sets new rules for the outsourcing game
The Cabinet Office has published a second edition of its Outsourcing Playbook, a key part of government’s response to the seemingly never ending procession of disasters that have bedevilled the UK procurement scene for many years. Nick Barrett highlights the key changes.

CL guides
Project Bank Accounts
The latest in our series of guides to key construction law topics comes from Ross Campbell of DLA Piper who examines Project Bank Accounts.

Building Safety Bill ushers in new regulatory era
Rebecca Rees and Amanda Stubbs of Trowers & Hamlins analyse the draft Building Safety Bill, which calls for total regulatory reform of the regime for ‘higher risk’ buildings, and is now out for consultation. The draft should be studied carefully and preparations made now to prepare for the new legislative landscape.

Correction of Arbitral Awards
Vijay Bange and Tanya Chadha of Duane Morris report on an arbitration claim considered by the High Court which supported a tribunal’s decision to amend its original award. Successful challenges to awards made by arbitration under ICC rules are unlikely to succeed.

Adjudications brought by insolvent companies – An exercise in (f)utility?
Clear evidence that the Supreme Court strongly supports alternative methods of dispute resolution, particularly adjudication, comes from a landmark decision in a case involving a company in liquidation, report Marion Smith QC, David Sawtell and Philippe Kuhn of 39 Essex Chambers. Some questions remain unanswered however.

Decarbonisation demands collaboration
Dr. Roxana Vornicu and Dr. Paolo Ettore Giana of King’s College London Centre for Construction Law and Dispute Resolution argue that the industry’s drive towards decarbonisation can only succeed if collaboration is adopted along with digital technologies.

The reinsurance market
Insurance expert John D Wright of JD Risk Associates explains the role of the reinsurance market in insuring construction risks. Reinsurance is especially important when the market faces catastrophic risk, like the Covid 19 pandemic.

Alternative dispute resolution
Talk before suspending for non payment
Our latest Alternative Dispute Resolution series article from Gurbinder Grewal of Dentons UK and Middle East LLP looks at the impact of the new Insolvency Act. Caution is urged before suspending work for non payment.