Posts by John Hughes-D’Aeth

  • Design dilemmas in D&B

    The practice of novating design consultants is now a ubiquitous feature of design and build (D&B) contracts in the UK. Over the last 20 years or so, informed by decisions such as Blyth & Blyth Ltd v Carillion Construction Ltd, the wording of novation agreements has evolved to the stage of a largely market standard … Continue reading Design dilemmas in D&B

  • The meaning of fitness for purpose

    Few expressions are more likely to get construction practitioners hot under the collar than “fitness for purpose”. But is the hype justified? And what does it really mean? I was pondering these questions when recently reviewing a client’s in-house (bespoke) form of design and build contract.

  • Contracting with joint ventures

    Working on a major infrastructure project recently, I was reminded of the issues that can arise when dealing with contractors undertaking projects on a joint venture (JV) basis. This is an increasingly common approach on large and complex projects (particularly in the roads, tunnelling and power sectors) as contractors look to pool their expertise or … Continue reading Contracting with joint ventures

  • Net contribution clauses and UCTA

    In my previous post, I outlined the facts in Langstane Housing Association Ltd v Riverside Construction Aberdeen Ltd and considered the judge’s surprising decision on the meaning of “current” when deciding which version of the ACE conditions applied. In this post I look at the judge’s analysis of the net contribution clause in the ACE … Continue reading Net contribution clauses and UCTA

  • Dodgy currency in Scottish case

    The decision in Langstane Housing Association Ltd v Riverside Construction Aberdeen Ltd features some highly dubious judicial reasoning and illustrates the extent to which the courts are out of touch with the real world of contract negotiations for major construction projects. Although a Scottish case, its findings will resonate in England and Wales as well.

  • Selling a construction company

    Construction companies are complex businesses. Typically, a construction company will have entered into numerous contractual arrangements with a range of clients, sub-contractors and suppliers, as well as ancillary undertakings such as bonds, guarantees and collateral warranties. There will be a mix of ongoing and completed contracts, with potential liabilities extending for up to 12 years after … Continue reading Selling a construction company

  • Packaging construction and engineering documents

    Everyone involved in construction and engineering appreciates the effort involved in planning a project and choosing an appropriate procurement strategy. All too often that work is undermined by careless errors made when compiling the contract documents into a formal agreement. The resulting disputes can be expensive and time-consuming. Here are some tips for avoiding trouble: