Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Afternoon in February:
“The day is ending, the night is descending; the marsh is frozen, the river dead.
Through clouds like ashes, the red sun flashes, on village windows that glimmer red.”
February is sometimes described as a bridge between January and March, a month that connects winter to spring. Some days are wet, some dry, most are cold, while others tantalise us with weak sunshine and a sign of spring to come.
On the subject of things to come, the Scottish government published its consultation on the Scottish Scheme for Construction Contracts 1998, suggesting the Construction Act 1996 amendments will come into force in October this year.
February was a quiet month for adjudication enforcement, but the courts were busy:
- Cotswold Geotechnical was found guilty and sentenced for corporate manslaughter.
- The government was accused of an “abuse of power” for scrapping BSF projects.
- The Court of Appeal looked at the meaning of “formal contract to follow” and a “sad case about lost opportunities for mediation”.
- The High Court considered liabilities under a performance bond, a technical auditor’s duty of care, the meaning of “same damage” and a third party’s liability to contribute, whether an e-mail chain led to a guarantee and if 15% interest was a penalty.
Public procurement is never out of the news at the moment, and this month was no different. If it wasn’t the cost of projects (like the M25 or Scottish roads), it was issues such as the effectiveness of the procurement rules, opening up government procurement to small businesses, “in-house” procurement, disclosure and transparency.
Finally, we had contributions on subjects as diverse as economic loss after Robinson v Jones, property developers and insolvency, whether the royal wedding bank holiday entitles a contractor to an extension of time, partisan experts in adjudication, liquidated damages, mediation of small claims, money laundering and insolvent parties and adjudication.