- September 28, 2009
Right, wrong, creative or delusional?
…or how do we make a decision and how do we know we are right? There is a story about a student taking an exam at a university. He calls over the invigilator and says “I’m not trying to be funny, but the questions are the same as last year.” The invigilator replies: “Yes, but … Continue reading Right, wrong, creative or delusional? →
- September 14, 2009
Another fine mess you’ve got me into: can you pass on a criminal fine in a contract?
There is a legal textbook which illustrates the varying tests of responsibility in relation to a glass of water falling off a table. Deliberate act – a man hits the glass with a baseball bat and it falls to the ground and smashes. Recklessness – the man is dancing wildly around the room and knocks … Continue reading Another fine mess you’ve got me into: can you pass on a criminal fine in a contract? →
- September 1, 2009
Unreasonable skill and care: do we expect too much in a soundbite world?
When I was at university each department produced a T-shirt with what we would now call a “corporate strap-line”, intended to convey the essence of their area of expertise. I have to confess that I can’t remember what the law department’s T-shirt said; we are talking over 30 years ago. The best of all the … Continue reading Unreasonable skill and care: do we expect too much in a soundbite world? →
- August 17, 2009
All is not rotten: how might I use an RoT clause?
Last week, I looked at how a retention of title (RoT) clause can catch a contractor out, even if it complies with its building contract. This week, I want to look at this issue from the point of view of the supplier. I Googled “RoT” and it is (we are assured) used as a reference … Continue reading All is not rotten: how might I use an RoT clause? →
- August 7, 2009
Can you stop the RoT?
I have recently become telepathic. A contractor called me the other day saying that he was engaged on a large M&E contract and that one of his sub-contractors had gone into administration. He wanted advice on terminating the sub-contract and getting someone else to finish the work. I asked whether any of the sub-contractor’s suppliers … Continue reading Can you stop the RoT? →
- May 12, 2009
Swine flu: contracts and force majeure
This post continues from my thoughts last week. (For more general legal information on pandemic influenza, click here.) Contracts and clauses When I first started in the law, force majeure clauses were not discussed at any length in most contract negotiations. However, in recent years (and especially after the foot and mouth crisis of 2001) … Continue reading Swine flu: contracts and force majeure →
- May 6, 2009
Swine flu: attitude to risk and contingency planning
I felt a bit rough over the weekend and told my wife that I was a bit concerned as to whether I was a man with swine flu. The rather unhelpful riposte from the Mrs was that I may well have got the words in the wrong order. We have seen plenty of health scares … Continue reading Swine flu: attitude to risk and contingency planning →
- April 27, 2009
The nuclear option
Many people think that what they do is rather special and that inexperienced or untrained outsiders should not “dabble”.
- March 4, 2009
Don’t waste the downturn
One of my friends owns a gym. He is currently sending out emails advising people not to “waste the downturn”. At first glance this seems to be something of a counter-intuitive message. But it isn’t and here’s why.
- February 25, 2009
Can’t pay, won’t pay (yet)
I recently gave a lecture to a group of construction industry professionals on legal developments in 2008. The case that caused most debate was Alan Auld Associates Ltd v Rick Pollard Associates and another  EWCA Civ 655. Termination for repeated non-payment That case concerned a consultant (Dr Pollard) working for a contractor, who in … Continue reading Can’t pay, won’t pay (yet) →
- January 28, 2009
New builds for sale? I think that it is inevitable that a number of relatively new buildings will have to be disposed of by the present or intended occupants. Those buildings will end up in the hands of a bunch of new people ranging from purchasers or occupiers (who have acquired them at a knock-down … Continue reading Collateral damage →
- December 18, 2008
Construction in 2009: Time to stop talking about the credit crunch
So what’s ahead for the construction industry in 2009? As I see it there will probably be three main stories. In no particular order, these are:
- December 17, 2008
Reasonable skill and care vs fitness for purpose
This particular old chestnut may not be roasting on an open fire with Jack Frost nipping on its nose (as the song goes), but it has been going for years. It’s the perennial debate about the conflict between reasonable skill and care and fitness for purpose. However, there is an interesting twist to the debate … Continue reading Reasonable skill and care vs fitness for purpose →
- November 25, 2008
Pedantry or precision?
There is an old joke: how many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: what do you mean by “change”? We are often accused of pedantry but it is actually important to know what a contract means.
- November 20, 2008
Dangers of direct payments
You have let a construction contract. All seems to be going well, albeit progress is a bit slow. A couple of subcontractors then come to see you: they say that the main contractor has not paid them for a while and they are thinking of suspending or leaving the site.
- November 6, 2008
Time to test the late payments regime?
According to Building, the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group says that there has been a sharp rise in contractors reporting that public and private sector clients have been pushing back payments.
- October 30, 2008
Where is your retention money held?
Although we are being told that the financial meltdown has been averted and that we are “only” facing a plain old-fashioned recession now I can’t help wondering whether there will be any aftershocks in the financial world.
- October 29, 2008
Are you too tired to get “contractural”?
A less than serious post to kick off this blog: A Google engineer has developed a way to avoid random emailing late at night when you’re most likely to be “tired”. Jon Perlow’s new Mail Goggles application, built into Google’s GMail service, forces the user to answer basic maths questions in 60 seconds before a … Continue reading Are you too tired to get “contractural”? →