REUTERS | Vasily Fedosenko

April 2016 digest: ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Locksley Hall:

“Forward, forward let us range, let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.”

This month saw a number of legislative changes that will impact on construction practitioners, including significant changes to costs management, new public procurement regulations (which Stella Mitchell and Kate Wall discussed) and amendments to the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). The government’s mandate requiring BIM level 2 for all centrally procured government projects also came into effect this month.

In adjudication, Carr J severed an adjudicator’s decision, which Matt Molloy discussed. Matt also considered the validity of a contractor’s application for payment and Jonathan Cope reviewed some of the arguments parties raise in adjudication enforcement. Sara Paradisi highlighted that conflicts of interest and bias are as relevant in adjudication as they are in arbitration.

Adjudication isn’t always a party’s first choice when it wants to get paid. It is possible to serve a statutory demand and apply for a winding-up petition, although they are considered riskier alternatives, as the parties in COD Hyde v Space Change and Ro-Bal v Jones discovered. It was an issue that Jonathan Cope looked at.

The courts decided a number of interesting points this month, including upholding knock-for-knock indemnities in a commercial contract, finding a clause may be a penalty even if it has a limited impact on the contract breaker and that a contract may be varied orally or by conduct, even with an anti-variation clause. The TCC also dismissed a challenge to an arbitrator’s award, making some helpful observations on global claims in the process.

Last month, Carr J interpreted bespoke amendments to a FIDIC Yellow Book, which inspired Michael Tetstall to consider the parties’ amendments and Tom Coulson to look more broadly at contract interpretation when words have been omitted.

Further afield, Paul Fisher discussed what is happening in the Gulf nations as they enter a period of readjustment following the oil price rout, and Damian Crosse and Christopher Young explained how to enforce a judgment in Dubai.

In other news, there is a further consultation on the Consumer Code for Home Builders, guidance on managing and appointing scaffolding contractors, an updated note on party walls, a new JCT website and on-line store, changes to the Building Regulations with a new Part R and new approved documents for Part L and Part R, the results of a national BIM survey, information on cybersecurity and the government’s response to the NIC’s northern connectivity and London transport reports.

On the public procurement front, Wales is consulting on public procurement regulation, the London Borough of Waltham Forest saw a contractor’s claim struck out and we have published a new note on procuring concessions contracts.

And finally, if you missed any cases from the first part of the year, you can catch up with  Mr Bumble in our first quarter case review.

Next month, we have London’s mayoral election and the Queen’s speech to look forward to.

Practical Law Monthly digest

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