With demand consistently outstripping new supply, the housing problem is one that worsens over time. More people are gravitating to London and the South East, which puts a strain on the area’s housing stock. London’s population hit a record high of 8.6 million this January and is expected to reach 10 million by 2030. The number of overseas non-residents buying London property also keeps increasing. Frequently, they’re drawn in by the global reputation of London’s property market as a safe haven in which to invest, but in so doing they help drive up the cost of properties and exacerbate the shortage. Furthermore, we have developed a culture of home ownership, … Continue reading Thoughts on the UK’s Housing Shortage

On 4 June 2015, Olswang in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Building  and Construction Manager magazine hosted a full day’s CPD on the theme of “The Art of the Possible” in the construction industry. The day’s presentations were filmed for the benefit of attendees and those unable to make it. Links to these videos and the presentations are below. Professor Christopher Gorse, Professor of Construction & Project Management Leeds Beckett University: The energy efficiency of buildings: a review of industry led research and building performance – Video Slides Francis Ho, Head of Construction, Olswang: ‘Contractual Options for Procuring Major Projects in the UK’ – Video Slides Trevor Drury, Managing Director, Morecraft Drury: … Continue reading Videos of Talks from Olswang’s Construction CPD Day

With just over two weeks to go until “London Build 2015”, the leading construction expo for London and the South of England is setting up soundly to provide a vision of London’s future thanks to partnerships with Crossrail, Thames Tideway Tunnel and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). This massive event celebrates the London construction sector, focusing on its successes of the last 18 months and a flavour of the exciting developments that lie ahead. The event is free of charge and details of how to secure your place can be obtained here. The event brings together industry figureheads from Balfour Beatty, Transport for London, Lend Lease, Crossrail, … Continue reading “London Build 2015” event lines up a vision of London’s future

It is often the case that employers seek to protect themselves financially in the event of a contractor’s default, seeking either a parent company guarantee (PCG) or some form of bond (or both). Of course, calling a PCG or bond, including an on-demand bond does not guarantee payment (although it is typically difficult to restrict calls on on-demand bonds), but a recent case has clarified that the actual act of calling the bond or PCG should not provide an additional hurdle in the employer’s path to the funds. The facts of the case where these: MW High Tech Projects UK Limited (the contractor) entered into a contract with Biffa Waste Services … Continue reading Precluding calls under on-demand security

I’m pleased to announce that the Chartered Institute of Building’s Construction CPD Day takes place on Thursday 4 June at Olswang’s London offices. In conjunction with the esteemed Construction Manager magazine and the Chartered Institute of Building, the world’s largest and most influential professional body for construction management, Olswang is hosting a series of presentations outlining “The Art of the Possible” in today’s construction market. Eight eminent industry personalities provide expert insight into the latest thinking across the construction spectrum including: How to procure projects in an overheated construction market Management theory and techniques Manufacturing processes Industrial design 3D printing Cost management Building Information Modelling (BIM) Registration and breakfast will be from 8.30am with … Continue reading Construction CPD Day on Thursday, 4th June 2015

Having been away on maternity leave, it’s been very interesting to note several changes in the construction market since I was last at my desk.  The key (and most welcome) difference has been the pick-up in the market. Reasons for this are well documented. A second, less obvious change has been the number of clients either taking out a latent defects insurance policy (on either completed properties or properties which are due to be built) and/or making enquiries about it. I’ll therefore be covering a few issues surrounding this topic in my next couple of blogs. Firstly, I thought it would be useful to provide a quick recap on the Latent … Continue reading Latent Damage Act

This Thursday, the country heads to the polls so it’s worth considering what impact the election result may have on the UK’s housebuilding and construction industries. Given the housing crisis, it’s no surprise most of the parties are looking to accelerate housebuilding. Labour would build 200,000 homes a year – roughly double the present number – by 2020. The Conservatives  would match that number but offer their “Starter Homes” at a discount to first-time buyers aged under 40 while the Liberal Democrats aim for 300,000, which most closely reflects the number required, and would start work on at least ten more Garden Cities. These parties also support Help to Buy while … Continue reading UK General Election 2015 – How the political parties line up on key construction issues

The Claimants, owners of a ground floor flat in Finchley, had commissioned a basement extension. They sued their structural engineer (Beltic Limited, the First Defendant) and contractor (Second Defendant) following the failure of temporary works which led the property to collapse. Akenhead J’s decision confirms the extent of a professional’s duty to warn. The Court drew from earlier authorities to identify the considerations for establishing a duty to war. These are: The scope of the professional’s contractual duties and services is the context in which the scope of the duty to warn and the circumstances where it may arise are judged;  A duty to warn stems from the professional’s duty to … Continue reading Duties to Warn: Lessons from Goldswain and Another v Beltec Ltd and Another

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

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