In the construction sector solid cash flow throughout the supply chain is the lifeblood of most projects, no matter what size, and is arguably the single most important factor in ensuring that a project reaches its conclusion. However, the cumulative effect of various other factors such as Brexit, escalating global energy prices, the outlawing from 1 April 2022 of the use of the red diesel usage for construction plant, super inflation, higher material and labour costs and the end of government COVID-19 support schemes has led to increased lending costs and smaller profit margins. As such, the construction supply chain is likely to come under ever increasing pressure in 2022. Continue reading “Under Pressure: Struggling Supply Chains”
The global pandemic continues to challenge us, with various measures ranging from further lockdowns to restrictions on in-person meetings. The judicial machinery, including that in the arbitration world, has continued to function throughout the pandemic notwithstanding the difficulties of embracing innovative processes and new technology.
In January 2021, Vijay Bange wrote an article examining the challenges of using technology in formal dispute resolution proceedings. Whilst technology has of course been used in international arbitration and high court litigation (particularly in the Technology & Construction Court) for quite some time, that use has been somewhat limited with parties, their legal counsel, and the tribunal often preferring in-person hearings and hard copy papers. 2021 however saw a dramatic rise in the use of technology in dispute resolution proceedings. This was almost certainly borne out of necessity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than necessarily by choice or organic progression. If disputes were to continue to be resolved, parties had no option but to get to grips with remote hearings, electronic bundles and virtual breakout rooms. Whilst some inevitably faced technological and logistical stumbling blocks, the move to virtual hearings and electronic working proved largely successful with many disputes being resolved expeditiously along the way. In fact, the move towards technology was so successful that many people are now opting to use technology out of choice and not simply out of necessity. Continue reading “Using Technology in Arbitration: Necessity or Choice?”
Globally, notable incidents of freak weather events giving rise to destruction and death have dominated the news. The increasing frequency of these erratic climate events has undoubtedly raised awareness of global warming and, on a political level, the need for states to move quicker towards green energy and the reduction of carbon emissions. Global warming is an inescapable issue that affects us all and which has forced governments to elevate this to the top of the agenda, filtering down to economic policies that will touch upon most industry sectors.
On 31 October 2021, representatives from over 200 countries are set to descend on the Scottish city of Glasgow for the United Nations climate change conference; the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26). During this global climate summit, world leaders are expected to talk all things climate change. Commitments have already been made to aggressively tackle global warming and the reduction of carbon emissions. Energy is therefore likely to be high on the agenda. Continue reading “Earth, Wind and Fire- Energy and the Green Agenda. The New Industrial Revolution?”
The contractual matrix of commercial construction projects commonly includes collateral warranties. Collateral warranties typically grant a contractual cause of action to third parties (such as tenants or end-users) with an interest in the project who may not otherwise have a contract in place with parties that are designing, constructing or providing professional advice on the project. For the beneficiary, a collateral warranty can therefore be invaluable.
Recently, for example, collateral warranties have proven to be extremely useful for long leaseholders and tenants in private residential developments where cladding and fire safety issues have been discovered. Where such a warranty exists, leaseholders (as the beneficiaries) have been able in some cases to rely upon collateral warranties as a means of recovering losses, or compelling the original contractors or designers to rectify those fire safety defects in circumstances where the leaseholder was not involved in the original construction of the development.
2020 will be forever synonymous with the global pandemic. The end of the year saw the approval of vaccines and with that a hope to an end, or at least the taming, of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst this has dominated the media in 2020, there has been momentum in the press and Parliament about the continuing problem of dangerous cladding.
A summary of the unfolding story board is below.
- 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  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”
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?”
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”
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”
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”