REUTERS | Herwig Prammer

December 2010 digest: Let it snow!

In the words of “Let It Snow”:

“Oh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful,
And since we’ve no place to go, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

It has been a cold and snow-filled December. “Let it snow” may have been the last thing people were thinking as large parts of the country ground to a halt and people struggled to get to and from home. Meanwhile, those lucky few in Cancun who were discussing climate change not only enjoyed temperatures of nearer 20 Celsius than zero (or below), but they were also able to seal a deal.

Burst water pipes are often a consequence of cold weather, and one judgment about leaking chilled water pipes continued to attract attention (including its costs judgment). The UK’s infrastructure was often in the news, mainly for the wrong reasons (closed airports, cancelled trains and blocked roads), but we also had the OFT’s final report on infrastructure ownership and Infrastructure UK’s cost review of civil engineering projects.

During December, the courts looked at when a guarantee creates a debt; whether a settlement agreement was binding; granted permission for judicial review of the government’s BSF decision; and decided whether an arbitrator was functus officio.

In adjudication, we published blogs on the adjudicator’s decision, whether the adjudicator was biased, who pays the costs after Tolent and Yuanda, and what happens to costs if the referring party is insolvent.

On the public procurement front, the High Court lifted the automatic suspension that prevents a contracting authority from entering into a contract with its chosen supplier (twice); PLC looked at novating a contract when a supplier is in financial difficulties; the government announced that the competitive dialogue procedure and the effectiveness of the public procurement rules are under review; and a new set of core pre-qualification questions came into effect.

This month also saw a collection of new industry reports, including the government’s report on measures to tackle private sector growth; the IGT’s report on delivering a low carbon future; and the CIOB’s report on procurement. The government also published the Localism Bill 2010-11.

Finally, the Bribery Act 2010 is due to come into force in April 2011. PLC has published anti-corruption clauses for joint ventures, along with guidance for supply chains from Transparency International and the GC100’s response to the MoJ’s bribery consultation.

Phew! What a month. Merry Christmas and a happy new year from PLC Construction.

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