John Keats, Complete Poems and Selected letters:
“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, close bosom-friend of the maturing sun.”
One of the coldest summers for several years has ended. Less an Indian summer (which is described as a “period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in the Northern Hemisphere”), more a cool, damp prelude to the remaining autumn and winter months to come (although September itself ended on a bright and sunny note).
September also felt a bit like a damp squib, so little seemed to be happening in the construction world. For us, it seemed to be all about comment and little else, although we did have the first reported adjudication enforcement cases since July. First, Stuart-Smith J looked at oral construction contracts and substantial performance (and Matt Molloy commented on the case’s impact for adjudicators). Then Coulson J considered natural justice and oral contracts. Matt also commented on when it is appropriate for the court to allow a party to rely on expert evidence.
- Paul Walsh looked at alliance contracting, comparing it to traditional contracting.
- Michael Sergeant compared a contractor’s right to make “claims”, versus its right to claim for a variation.
- Katy Wall discussed some of the key changes in Revision 6 of the Model Form of Contract MF/1.
- Claire Mills and Julie Scott set out some of the key differences between English and Scottish contract law when drafting construction contracts.
- Jonathan Cope explained what to look for in a well-written adjudicator’s decision (parts one and two). He also considered Hong Kong’s plans for statutory adjudication.
- Tom Coulson highlighted the Court of Appeal’s guidance on incorporation of terms and limits of the factual matrix (in Northrop v BAE Systems).
- Paul Reed QC looked at “fair presentation of risk” and the Insurance Act 2015.
- Catherine Gelder considered payment (particularly applications for payment, interim certificates and pay less notices).
- John Beresford revisited the current status of the complex structure theory.
We told you about a number of new and updated pieces of content this month, including a new checklist on issues to consider in a domestic building contract, an updated note on using and amending the NEC3 ECC, a new note specifically looking at services contracts following the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a new standard document on variations to development documents, a tracked changes version of Practical Law’s boilerplate agreement, and new notes on the shorter trials scheme (STS) pilot and the flexible trials scheme (FTS) pilot operating in the Rolls Building courts, including the TCC.
Other news included proposals for damages for late payment of insurance claims, a review of the Consumer Code for Home Builders, draft regulations on transparency in supply chains (under the Modern Slavery Act 2015) and a new low emission zone for construction machinery in London.
Finally, a number of pieces of legislation come into force in October. These include the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (and associated SIs) and the ADR for Consumer Disputes Regulations. There will also be a number of changes to insolvency law. The transitional period for CDM 2015 also comes to an end.