Monthly Archives: December 2009

REUTERS | Sharif Karim

In the bleak midwinter:

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;

Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, long ago.”

Last month it was exceptional rainfall, this month it was snow and freezing temperatures. Given the weather the country is experiencing, it is no surprise that climate change was on the agenda again, this time with a gathering of world leaders at the Copenhagen summit. Closer to home, we had news of smart meters; zero carbon non-domestic buildings; and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) published its updated sustainability plan. Continue reading

REUTERS | Andrew Winning

2009 will not, perhaps, be remembered as a ground breaking year in construction law. There has been no single case that has got people talking like, say, Melville Dundas v George Wimpey did, and adjudication-related cases have continued to show that the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) is extremely reluctant to allow parties to avoid the effect of decision on a technicality. Nevertheless, there have been some notable judgments which impact on the field of construction law.
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REUTERS | Fabrizio Bensch

A day in the life of…

This week sees the start of the Christmas/new year 2-week shut down on construction sites up and down the country. I suspect lots of construction professionals are not so lucky as those employed on-site.

Everyone is familiar with the ambush scenario in adjudication, especially at holiday time. The courts may be critical (see Coulson J’s comments in Dorchester Hotel v Vivid Interiors), but “at any time” really does mean what it says. I wonder how many notices of adjudication are being prepared as you read this??

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REUTERS | David Bebber

He writes such good judgments. They are so easy to read. Apparently he is never wrong. Certainly, as far as I am aware, the Court of Appeal has never found that he has erred. So it is with some trepidation and hesitation that I suggest that, when it comes to what happens if the payment provisions in a construction contract do not comply with all the relevant provisions of the Construction Act 1996, Coulson J has got it wrong.

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REUTERS | Herwig Prammer

“On the first day of Christmas,

my true love sent to me

A partridge in a pear tree…”

PLC Construction will send its last e-mail of 2009 next week, to arrive in your inbox on Thursday 24 December 2009. We are then taking a break until the new year.

The first e-mail of 2010 will be sent to arrive in your inbox on Thursday 7 January 2010. This e-mail will include reports of all developments since 24 December 2009.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

REUTERS | Jason Lee

It’s not always easy being an adjudicator. It sometimes feels like you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Ask Mr Shawyer, the poor chap who came in for rather a lot of harsh words from Couslon J last week (in Enterprise v McFadden). In Coulson J’s eyes, he was damned because he didn’t do something. He didn’t address Enterprise’s jurisdictional challenge; he “refused to grapple at all with the jurisdiction issues being raised”. Continue reading

REUTERS | Ricardo Moraes

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”

(Robert Byrne)

It’s nearly Christmas, so why not take another look at a fine old contractual chestnut: fitness for purpose. (This blog looked a different aspect of this issue before).

Fitness for purpose can get construction lawyers and their clients quite worked up, but why exactly? What is the real effect of including a fitness for purpose obligation?  Will it be implied anyway? How does this affect insurance? Continue reading

REUTERS | Jason Lee

The recent Adjudication Society event focused on nominating adjudicators. It was a group discussion in the style of “Question Time“, with a number of nominating bodies represented (TeCSA, CEDR, ICE, RICS, IDRS).

The discussion was very interesting but, unfortunately, for those who did not attend, the Chatham House Rule applies, and so I can’t tell you about the list of issues, or the answers! I know, what a spoil sport. Building you up something, only to drop you flat! Continue reading