In the 2013 case of Parkwood Leisure v Laing O’Rourke Wales and West it was held a collateral warranty was a “construction contract” for the purposes of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 . Not only did this make it subject to the Act’s payment and suspension provisions but to those relating to adjudication. Collateral warranties grant purchasers, tenants, funders and other third parties duties of care from construction parties for works or services performed. They were not traditionally regarded as construction contracts. However, the Technology and Construction Court noted that, in addition to warranting works already completed, the collateral warranty included an undertaking from Laings to perform those … Continue reading Collateral Warranties: After Parkwood Leisure

The Arbitration Act 1996 gives the court powers to correct serious failures to comply with the “due process” of arbitral proceedings.  Successful challenges are rare, but a recent case in the High Court, The Secretary of State for the Home Department v Raytheon Systems Ltd [2014] EWHC 4375 (TCC) and [2015] EWHC 311 (TCC), shows they are not impossible. Background The Home Office engaged Raytheon Systems to design and develop a £750 million electronic border control system.  Raytheon was obliged to meet certain development milestones and, after several were missed, the Home Office purported to terminate the agreement.  Raytheon complained that the termination was unlawful because the Home Office had … Continue reading The Secretary of State for the Home Department v Raytheon Systems Ltd: the court considers serious irregularity in arbitral proceedings

I’m pleased to announce two very eminent figures from our industry as guest speakers at our 2nd Annual Construction Law Conference on Thursday, 5th February. George Adams, Chair of the CIC Green Construction Panel, CIBSE Past President and UK Engineering Director at SPIE, will discuss the Green Agenda while first hand guidance on the important Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 will be provided by Philip White, Head of the Operational Strategy Division and Chief Inspector of the Construction Division at the Health and Safety Executive  ahead of their April launch. In addition, the Olswang Construction Group will discuss a range of vital topics, including: Performance security and insurances including … Continue reading OLSWANG CONSTRUCTION LAW CONFERENCE – LAST FEW PLACES REMAINING

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) published two new building contracts towards the end of the last year. Its Concise Building Contract (CBC) and Domestic Building Contract (DBC) line up against the JCT’s two Minor Works Building Contract variants (MWBC) and “Home Owner Contracts” (HOCs) respectively. Only the NEC and Chartered Institute of Building have offered credible alternatives recently to the bestselling MWBC. For homeowner works, options are starker still. Short contracts mean softer learning curves, critical in an industry often resistant to change. Even so, RIBA must deliver compelling reasons for users to switch. The CBC allows parties to stipulate sectional completion, a programme, advanced and milestone payments, … Continue reading RIBA’s Concise Building Contract and Domestic Building Contract 2014

On behalf of the Olswang Construction Team, I’m delighted to invite you to our 2nd Annual Construction Law Conference. This takes place on Thursday, 5 February 2015 at our offices at 90 High Holborn. Attendees include developers, contractors, professionals, construction barristers and funders. Our first annual conference was a huge success; we aim to do even better this time round. The event will be followed by refreshments and a chance to network with our other guests and chat with our construction and development lawyers. In keeping with the conference’s theme of “On Time and Budget”, our talks are directed at mitigating risks to construction projects from a legal and practical perspective. … Continue reading “ON TIME AND BUDGET” – OLSWANG’S 2ND ANNUAL CONSTRUCTION LAW CONFERENCE ON 5 FEBRUARY 2015

Executive summary Balancing the important need to stimulate property development and yet protect citizens’ rights to light to their properties remains a challenge to the property industry and lawmakers. The Law Commission has published its report (dated 4 December 2014) on this controversial topic. Its proposals achieve a considerably greater degree of certainty for developers and property owners alike as to when an injunction will be granted to prevent a development or require its removal. The procrastination of some property owners in pursuit of a higher ransom for releasing their rights will be mitigated by the Law Commission’s new procedure, which cuts to the chase in requiring property owners to confirm … Continue reading Rights to light reform – a new dawn

I’ll be speaking at the 13th Annual Conference of the Adjudication Society and the Association of Independent Construction Adjudicators in London on Friday 21 November 2014 on the subject of serial adjudications. The theme of this year’s conference is “Party Conduct or Those to Whom Evil is Done, Do Evil in Return?”. The conference takes place at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, London. Full details may be found in this flyer and the schedule is here.  Students studying at degree level or above (including postgraduate diplomas) in a relevant subject can apply for a special rate – please contact the Adjudication Society for details.

The King’s College Construction Law Association (KCCLA) is holding a mock adjudication, titled “Quantum Never Dies”, on the evening of Thursday 20 November 2014. This is free of charge and refreshments will be provided. The event is hosted by Olswang. As the title suggests, this mock adjudication has a satirical “secret agent” theme, with the scenario exploring a subterranean construction project which has suffered a number of (alleged) major defects! The annual KCCLA mock adjudication events are known for their entertainment value, combining adjudication procedure with humorous facts and circumstances. Nonetheless, the participants are all experienced in adjudication proceedings. We are privileged to have experienced and well-known adjudicator, John Riches, playing … Continue reading KCCLA MOCK ADJUDICATION EVENING EVENT ON 20 NOVEMBER 2014

Laing O’Rourke Construction v Healthcare Support (Newcastle) and Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Hospitals Trust  reminds us of the tests an independent tester should apply before certifying practical completion and the importance of setting out in contract the extent to which strict observance of the specification is necessary. The first defendant was engaged to procure facilities at two hospitals by the second defendant, an NHS Foundation Trust. It sub-let the design and construction of the works, divided into nine phases, to the claimant. The dispute centred on the Phase 8 which comprised two new blocks of staff offices. Laings believed that this phase was complete by mid-2012. However, the NHS trust … Continue reading Practically-speaking

Around this time last year the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) ruled in Parkwood Leisure Ltd v Laing O’Rourke Wales and West Ltd that a collateral warranty could be a ‘construction contract’ for the purposes of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (the “Act”) and subsequently subject to the mandatory requirements of the Act including the right for a party to a construction contract to refer any dispute to adjudication. Aside from creating a certain amount of polemic, the decision also prompted many to consider whether beneficiaries of third party rights could also rely on this statutory right as a means of dispute resolution. This discussion had, until … Continue reading Third party rights: the right to adjudication

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