UK Construction & Engineering: Safer Construction Materials- A New National Regulator

By Vijay Bange

Following our recent blog concerning the challenges and issues in the construction industry arising post Grenfell and the Dame Hackitt Review, the Government continues with its mission to tackle some root safety concerns. One of the many recommendations made was that more needs to be done to ensure that construction products are robustly tested, certified and labelled, and that there needs to be  a more robust regulatory framework to police this. Furthermore, to ensure that there is greater accountability for those manufacturing and /or selling dangerous building products.

The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, announced on 19th January 2021[1] the establishment and funding of a national regulator[2] working closely with the Building Safety Regulator and trading standards, and indeed other regulators, whose remit would be to ensure that safer materials are used to build homes. The issue is no longer limited just to dangerous cladding and is more wholesale. This was a scathing, and candid, account of the perceived deficiencies in the industry. Separately, the government has also commissioned a panel of experts to look into the fitness of testing regimes for construction products, and tackling abuse of testing products used for construction, and it is anticipated that this review will report its findings this year. Potentially, this too may result in further changes to the relevant regulations. What is evident is that there is a multi-pronged effort to make changes to implement safety concerns post Grenfell, and implement the measures arising from the Dame Hackitt Review.

Continue reading “UK Construction & Engineering: Safer Construction Materials- A New National Regulator”

Follow The Money

By Vijay Bange and Tanya Chadha

  • Injunction
  • Constructive trust and / or Quistclose trust.

Deluxe property Holdings Ltd (a company registered under the laws of the British Virgin Islands) v (1) SCL Construction Limited & (2) HMRC [2020] EWHC 2865 (TCC)

Cash flow is the lifeblood of the construction industry.  This phrase, coined by Lord Denning MR, and cited relentlessly in the construction industry still holds true. In times of recession, following the cash and preserving the funds that are in dispute is crucial. There is no point in spending time and money pursuing a dispute to fight over a pot of cash that is at real risk of being dissipated. Continue reading “Follow The Money”

Build, Build, Build…The New Deal: Boris Johnson Announces Plans to Rebuild Britain

By Vijay Bange

As the government eases the lockdown provisions around the country, the Prime Minister today made a speech in Dudley, the historical heart of the industrial revolution, setting out his £5 billion economic recovery plan for the country. This is the government’s plan to build our way out of the recession caused by the pandemic, and has been compared to the New Deal proposed during the Great Depression by US President Franklin D Roosevelt. Continue reading “Build, Build, Build…The New Deal: Boris Johnson Announces Plans to Rebuild Britain”

Adjudication during the COVID-19 lockdown – breach of natural justice?

By Vijay Bange and Tanya Chadha

In the UK, adjudication remains one of the quickest and most cost effective methods of resolving construction disputes.  As most people adjust to the “new normal” of working from home, an away from the usual office environment, adjudication may not be at the top of everyone’s agenda.  That is somewhat ironic given that the current COVID-19 situation is fast becoming a potential breeding ground for construction disputes.  Projects are in delay, labour and materials supply may be an issue and cashflow may become and inevitable effect of the lockdown.

The courts have shown a resolve to carry on with court business where there are live proceedings. There was however some uncertainty as to what approach the TCC would take in relation to adjudications during the period of lockdown, particularly given the fast and furious nature of the process. Would breach of natural justice arguments hold strong in adjudications pursued during this restrictive period of lockdown?  What would be the position where some relevant participants are self-isolating?  Can the adjudication process be conducted fairly, and with proper regard to the rules of natural justice? Continue reading “Adjudication during the COVID-19 lockdown – breach of natural justice?”

Post-lockdown and the new world order: Construction & Engineering UK

By Vijay Bange and Tanya Chadha

Social distancing measures and lockdowns have been replicated across the globe and have brought world economies to all time lows. Understandably, there is now a degree of anxiety to getting back to work. The longer the lockdown goes on for, the harder the bounce back may be. Unsurprisingly murmurings of getting the country back to work are beginning to surface.  Some manufacturers and building firms that shut down are now slowly preparing to return to work from a state of hibernation.

Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover have set out plans to re-open their factories early next month with strict safety measures in place. Taylor Wimpey, like some other national house builders, is planning to resume work on multiple sites. HS2 is also now resuming works on Phase one, opening 75% of its sites, with a notice to commence being approved by the government. These companies have spent time planning how they can re-start, whilst ensuring adherence with the government’s social distancing guidelines. Continue reading “Post-lockdown and the new world order: Construction & Engineering UK”

Expert witnesses owe a fiduciary duty of loyalty to clients

By Vijay Bange

A Company v XYZ [2020] EWHC 809 (TCC)

Overview

  • The expert witness owed a fiduciary duty of loyalty, arising out of an engagement to provide expert witness services, advice and support in connection with an arbitration.
  • The court allowed the continuation of an existing interim injunction refraining the defendant consultancy expert practice from providing expert services to another party in the arbitration.

Continue reading “Expert witnesses owe a fiduciary duty of loyalty to clients”

Exit Strategies: Construction & Engineering UK

By Vijay Bange and Tanya Chadha

It was announced on Sunday 5 April that Keir Starmer was selected as leader of the Labour Party. Whilst the current Covid-19 outbreak has no basis for political jostling, he raised a very important question, namely, what is the government’s “Exit Strategy” to eventually get us back to a sense of normality.

The point raised by Keir Starmer is of wider economic relevance. Save for key workers, most other business sector activities have come to a halt. This is largely (but not exclusively) the case for construction and engineering projects. Continue reading “Exit Strategies: Construction & Engineering UK”

Challenging Times: Construction and Engineering in the UK

By Vijay Bange and Tanya Chadha

The COVID -19 pandemic has already had a massive effect on global economies. Its impact has been unprecedented and there is a degree of uncertainty on almost every facet of daily life.

This article seeks to touch upon issues that may affect those in the UK construction industry specifically, but certain elements will no doubt equally apply across other sectors. Continue reading “Challenging Times: Construction and Engineering in the UK”

Coronavirus and Construction in the UK: The Time to Talk Is Now

By Steve Nichol and Tanya Chadha

In an industry of seemingly ever-tighter margins across the board, it is perhaps unsurprising that the construction industry has fought to continue through the current coronavirus crisis as much as it has.  However, many in the industry have stopped work and shut down sites and, despite the current and perhaps somewhat over-optimistic view from the government that work can continue whilst still complying with social distancing rules, it seems inevitable that all non-essential work will stop very soon.

As work grinds to a halt, it is increasingly clear that in the vast majority of projects, contracts will not provide a straightforward answer to most of the questions that will arise from the shutdown. There will be many grey areas and a significant risk of extensive disputes. To avoid this, or at least limit the scope of those disputes, parties need to be communicating these issues and discussing approaches and solutions now. Continue reading “Coronavirus and Construction in the UK: The Time to Talk Is Now”