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

I’ll be speaking at the Chartered Institute of Building’s Masterclass at the H Hotel in Dubai on 3 and 4 November. This informative and advanced level conference tackles prominent issues in international construction law relating to bonds and insurance, and forms of construction and engineering contract commonly used in the Middle East and North Africa. Bonds, guarantees and insurances are a vital component of managing risk in any project. But they come with a host of hidden challenges and risks and issues, including in relation to calling and injunctive relief, compatibility with local law and creditworthiness. FIDIC is the most widely-used construction and engineering standard form in the Gulf Co-operation … Continue reading CIOB Dubai Masterclass on 3 and 4 November 2014

The Complex Projects Contact (CPC) was published by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) in 2013. This construction contract put effective time and cost management at its heart. It was also the first standard form to focus on digital communication and BIM. For a construction team to collaborate effectively and transparently its members need to share project parameters and information. This is best achieved by appointing them under contracts with a common philosophy. The CPC is shortly to be joined by a professional appointment. The CPC’s features filter down into the new “Consultancy Appointment”. BIM remains intact, as does the requirement for the parties to co-operate in mutual trust and fairness. … Continue reading The CIOB Consultancy Appointment

I recently held a seminar on contract termination and there was a good deal of discussion about a related topic; the power to omit work. Employers (or, for that matter, main contractors) may want to omit work for a variety of reasons – perhaps the price has become too high, technical requirements have changed or they have simply lost confidence in the contractor’s ability to carry out the work – but do construction contracts permit a change in scope of this kind? Contracts place an obligation upon the contractor to complete the work, but a party also has a corresponding right to complete the work it has contracted to carry … Continue reading The power to omit work

The use of net contribution clauses (NCCs) in construction contracts has long been a matter for debate. For the professional team they provide a safety net for claims where liability is split between different members of the team (without an NCC the paying party can recoup losses from other members of the team, but only where there was existing contractual liability between those members of the team and the employer). For employers, they create uncertainty surrounding potential recovery of losses and leave them vulnerable to the extent that any of the parties named in the NCC become insolvent. They create a recovery Frankenstein where claims against different parties are sewn … Continue reading Safety Net: Net Contribution Clauses

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