Monthly Archives: January 2010

REUTERS | Maxim Shemetov

Sara Coleridge, Pretty Lessons in Verse:

“January brings the snow, Makes our feet and fingers glow.”

January is described by Wikipedia as “the coldest month of the year within most of the Northern Hemisphere…”. We are sure no-one would contradict this. Snow and ice, freezing weather and failed transport systems once again dominated the news at the start of the year. No doubt many construction projects “stalled” during those two weeks of chaos, and we published a note to help our subscribers. Continue reading

REUTERS | Adrees Latif

Towards the end of 2009, I wrote a post on the tension between notice provisions and extensions of time. This elicited some very interesting comments, but, most interestingly of all, no-one said “Oh come off it – how many cases are there where the notice provision is strictly enforced?”.

If courts or tribunals decline to enforce notice provisions, much of the tension alluded to within my last piece would fall away. Continue reading

REUTERS | Ilya Naymushin

Sometimes it is tough being an adjudicator or, at least, it appears that way. You only have to read the judgment in Geoffrey Osborne v Atkins Rail to realise that it isn’t always an easy job. On the other hand, when I read the judgment in ROK Building v Celtic Composting (No 2), I had to smile. There was a situation where, as far as I could tell, the adjudicator had acted in an exemplary manner. Continue reading

REUTERS | Lee Jae-Won

Today, most M&E systems contain multiple safety devices, all of which are intended to kick in, in the event of a failure. But, what happens if they all fail at the same time? Is the installer of one of those so called safety devices liable for all the damage caused, or is the chance of all the systems simultaneously failing so remote that the installer should not be liable for the resulting damage?

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REUTERS | Ricardo Moraes

In my November blog post, I thought there was a real risk that any deal reached during the Copenhagen climate conference would be a toothless tiger, with very few binding commitments to reducing CO2 emissions. Well, on reflection, even that pessimistic prediction was a little over-optimistic. The Copenhagen “accord” fails to provide any binding commitments to reducing emissions, other than “recognising” the scientific case for keeping global temperature rises to 2°C this century.

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REUTERS | Heinz-Peter Bader

If you are carrying out works that are partly “construction operations” under the Construction Act 1996, and partly not, conventional wisdom has often said that it makes sense to ensure that your dispute resolution clauses and payment terms comply with the Act.

While this was accepted as good practice, it remained unclear exactly how the court would deal with the enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision relating to works that were not construction operations, but where the parties nevertheless had a clear intention in their contract that adjudication should be available. That is, how might the courts use the Act and the Scheme for Construction Contracts 1998 when enforcing a contractual adjudication. Thanks to HHJ Havelock-Allan QC, we now have at least part of the answer. Continue reading

REUTERS | David Mdzinarishvili

In 2009, the construction press was full of stories about cover pricing and bid-rigging in the construction industry. This was because of the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) investigation (which had started in 2004), and which resulted in fines of £129.5 million being imposed on 103 construction companies in September 2009. Continue reading

REUTERS | Stephen Hird

It is a well-established principle in adjudication that the adjudicator must act fairly and comply with the rules of natural justice. We are all familiar with adjudicators not having separate communications with the parties; not taking advice from third parties; not advising the parties of a preliminary view (if formed) and so on. Equally well-established is the principle that adjudicators are bound by earlier adjudication decisions. But what happens when these two concepts collide? Continue reading