News in brief: August 2011

The number of workers killed in the construction industry last year has increased according to provisional Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures for the year to March 2011. The number of workers killed was 50, an increase on 41 the previous year.

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HSE case study

Poor communications have been found to be the underlying cause of a significant number of accidents on London Olympic Games projects according to a case study published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

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PFI exemption

Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes could be exempt from the ban on pay when paid or pay when certified clauses contained in the Construction Act. The government gained the power to create the exemption via a commencement order on 23 June.

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NEC not understood

A report from Constructing Excellence and Pinsent Masons has highlighted deficiencies in understanding of collaborative contracts such as the NEC as a major barrier to progress towards an improved industry performance.

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Code combats bribery

The Director of the Serious Fraud Office promises that the new Bribery Act will be vigorously enforced but says that contractors following a new Anti-Bribery Code of Conduct launched by the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) will have nothing to fear from the new law.

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Bone up on bribery

The new Bribery Act is now in force, since 1 July, and although it was long trumpeted there still seems to be confusion about what it actually means. Backhanders, cash payments in brown envelopes, bungs etc, we can all easily conclude that they are unlawful. But what else might be?

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A Cautionary Tale

Rachel Chapin of Clyde & Co reports in the latest in our Alternative Dispute Resolution series on an appeal court case where mediation was once again endorsed as the preferred way to settle disputes.

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Concurrent liability – the reliance factor

Insurance expert John D Wright of JD Risk Associates analyses the issues surrounding concurrent liability, in particular the ‘reliance factor’. Court decisions have not settled the insurance related issues, he warns.

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Hired guns bite the dust?

Following a Supreme Court ruling expert witnesses are no longer immune from suit in relation to the evidence that they give in court. Ian Cocking of Clyde & Co says there may be unintended consequences as well as particular problems for jointly instructed experts.

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Who owns the float?

The always tricky problem of who owns float is analysed by Shona Frame of MacRoberts, pointing out the key differences in the NEC and JCT provisions. There is little case law for guidance, she warns.

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