Construction Law: October 2021

Editor’s comment
Construction pipeline promises much
Plans to invest £650 billion on new infrastructure over the next decade have been welcomed by the industry, but can the government deliver on the reforms affecting supply chain collaboration, fair allocation of risk and an end to ‘boom and bust’ investment cycles that successful delivery will demand, asks Editor Nick Barrett.

This month’s news roundup features the views of lawyers on challenges facing the government’s latest Construction & Infrastructure Pipeline. Also detailed are a report warning that commercial pressures have clashed with Covid safety on some sites and a new verification scheme for construction products.

Legal terms explained
Mike Reynolds of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP explains statutory adjudication.

Guest editor
Grasping the nettle
Guest Editor Karen Gough of 39 Essex Chambers sees a victory for ‘the little man’ in a case in which she represented the successful claimant in enforcement proceedings.

Legislation state of play table
The latest in our regular update on the progress of legislation and regulations affecting construction comes from Dentons UK & Middle East LLP. Tracey Summerell provides a commentary on the Future Homes Delivery Plan.

Reports from the courts
Our regular analysis of the court cases of most interest to construction comes from Andrew Croft and Ben Spannuth of Beale & Company Solicitors LLP who look at one case that involved a post-Grenfell claim for fire safety defects in a building; and another that clarifies the extent to which liquidated damages are recoverable upon termination of a contract before completion of the works.

Book Review
Wilmot-Smith on Construction Contracts 4th edition
Hamish Lal of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld reviews a new edition of Wilmot-Smith on Construction Contracts that he says makes it one of the leading practitioner textbooks, as well as a key resource for trainees, pupils and beginners.

CL guides
In the latest Construction Guides series from DLA Piper, Jenny Harrison describes how adjudication works as a speedy dispute resolution process. Although a success, adjudication has become a sometimes quasi mini-arbitration dealing with complex, time-consuming construction issues.

Golden Principles protect contract integrity
In the first of a series of articles on FIDIC’s contracts Mary Anne Roff and Jennifer Davis of Clyde & Co provides an overview of these key contracts for international construction..

Liquidated damages
Orthodoxy Restored: The Supreme Court Decision in Triple Point
Lucinda Hill and James Doe of HSF analyse the Supreme Court decision that overturned a Court of Appeal ruling based on an erroneous interpretation of the case law on liquidated damages. The ruling will be a relief to the construction industry, they conclude.

Quarter of a century of construction adjudication
Construction is still the only industry that has had specific legislation passed to govern its contracts, although statutory adjudication has now been with us for 25 years. Theresa Mohammed and Laura Lintott of Trowers & Hamlins LLP review its development, reminding us why it was thought necessary to usher in this ‘revolution’ in handling disputes.

Retrospective liability
Retrospective liability claims: what you need to know
Barry Hembling and Hazel Boland-Shanahan of Watson, Farley & Williams LLP analyse proposed changes to building safety legislation ushered in by the Grenfell tragedy which will apply retrospectively, and could allow claims on disputes where the limitation period had expired.

HS2 and Tunnelling Risks
Insurance expert John D Wright of JD Risk Associates reviews the extensive range of risk factors that need to be insured on large projects, focussing on the HS2 tunnelling works. An element of self insurance will be shouldered by some parties to the project.

Alternative dispute resolution
Let’s ditch the “A” in ADR
In our latest alternative dispute resolution series article Tracey Summerell of Dentons UK and Middle East says dispute resolution could be on the verge of radical change.