REUTERS | Robert Pratta

June 2009 digest: Cabinet reshuffles, heatwaves and Wimbledon

June saw the JCT publish its official “guides” to the changes included in the 2009 revisions to its standard form contracts. Unlike previous JCT guides, these do not give a detailed description of the changes made by the 2009 Revisions. We’ve been looking at the JCT Standard Building Contract, 2005 edition (SBC05). To assist construction practitioners who would otherwise have to carry out their own comparison of the changes, we are working through the amendments and publishing as we go.

Only a true hermit can have missed the furore over MPs expenses. There has been a cabinet reshuffle and the industry has a new construction minister. Only time will tell how long Ian Lucas MP will remain in the job (he’s the ninth minister since 2001), or what his legacy to the industry may be. It could be an amended Construction Act 1996, if he lasts that long.

On that subject, Nick Raynsford MP, a former construction minister, has been sitting in committee in the House of Commons, taking part in the debate on the LDEDC Bill 2008. The committee stage did not bring any last-minute changes to the Construction Act 1996, although it isn’t over yet.

And it seems there is still plenty of time for the industry to get to grips with the revised JCT contracts as we’ll be waiting until at least winter 2010 before amendments to the Scheme for Construction Contracts 1998 are published for consultation.

It is not just ministers who have been changing. At the same time as the cabinet reshuffle, the departments formerly known as the DTi and BERR merged and got a new name: the equally snappy BIS.

Everyone knows that construction sites are dangerous places. The Health and Safety Executive has been working hard to reduce the number of accidents and deaths. It has published a new strategy and the trial of the first company to be charged with the criminal offence of corporate manslaughter has started (and been adjourned).

Finally, summer is officially here. Wimbledon has started (Andy Murray’s quarter final takes place tomorrow…) and, as London experiences a “heatwave”, a number of environmental issues have been on the agenda: energy efficiency; sustainability; waste; and zero carbon buildings.

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