Category: Law

What Can You Change?

Most contracts will include some form of mechanism or procedure allowing the parties to change the goods, works and services being provided. There are a number of myths about variation clauses because a simple express clause such as this in NEC4 “The Project Manager may give an instruction which changes

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Reviewing the Role of Retention

5 years ago I wrote a post about whether you could trust an employer with your retention. In the light of Carillion’s pending/actual/recent insolvency* (delete according to when you read this), I wanted to clarify the legal position on retention. For simplicity the employer refers to the paying party –

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The Swing of the Payment Pendulum

Getting paid is a perennial problem in construction. The Construction Acts 1996 and 2009 were meant to help. They were meant to prevent employers and main contractors withholding monies due without any/good reasons. But do they? The evidence In 2018, the Federation of Master Builders lambasted employers and main contractors 

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Avoid Ambiguities at All Costs

The UK Supreme Court have recently revisited the thorny issue of fitness for purpose (and millions of Euros depend on the answer). How can you avoid the embarrassment of publication riches afforded by a Supreme Court decision, as well as months in court (the decision was given 8 years after

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Disastrous Disputes

Weirdly, avoiding disputes does not seem to be a key factor driving the drafting of contracts (although PPC2000 might be an exception). However, given the rising cost and time involved in resolving disputes, as well as the damage to reputations and the sustainability of a company, it should be. My

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Copyright for Consultants

Most consultant appointments allow a licence for your client to use your drawings and designs for the Project for which you created them; and if your client uses them for other purposes then you are not liable for such use. How ‘the Project’ is defined will affect how your client

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Review Your Contract: Indemnities

An indemnity is a promise to pay A’s losses if a trigger event occurs [read more]. But how do they pass risk on construction projects? Managing risk If someone else fails to spot your defective work, does it reduce the amount of your indemnity? No. Greenwich Millennium v Essex Services

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Apply Common Sense

When a court or tribunal interprets your carefully crafted contract, it doesn’t ask your opinion. It reviews the written terms to analyse ‘what a reasonable person having all the [parties’ then] background knowledge… would have understood… the language in the contract to mean‘. As they are not mystics, the courts

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Consumer Contracts Require Transparent Terms

Clarity and legibility in contractual language is widely recognised as desirable in its own right but [the Consumer Rights Act] goes beyond promoting that objective as an end in itself … the transparency provisions in the Act have to be understood as demanding ‘transparency’ in the full sense. If your

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Signatures Are Not Required

Getting a contract wet signed (pen & ink) is becoming increasingly difficult when many clients are virtual, businesses do not have offices, and the cost of postage outweighs the benefits. In the construction industry, parties often start with the intention of getting a signed contract, but these good intentions are

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