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The Week That Was - 24 February 2023

Published on 24 February 2023

Welcome to The Week That Was, a round-up of key events in the construction sector over the last seven days.

Collapse of Tolent Construction Limited

The construction firm Tolent Construction Limited has gone into administration.  Press reports indicate that the company suffered significant losses on its contract for the Milburngate development in Durham.  The administration is said to follow increasing costs, shortages in labour, loss of supply chains and reducing government support schemes.  The administration has already resulted in more than 300 job losses and there is also concern for the many subcontractors affected. 

Click here to read more.

J&B Hopkins Limited v A&V Building Solution Limited

LJ&BH engaged A&V as a sub-contractor to undertake plumbing installation works at one of its projects.  A&V commenced adjudication against J&BH alleging that J&BH was in breach of the terms of the sub-contract and was unreasonably withholding payment of sums due to A&V.   The adjudicator decided that A&V had failed to prove its entitlement to the sums claimed and that £82,956.88 was due to JB&H.  JB&H sought to enforce the adjudicator's decision.

The Court held that most of the arguments raised by A&V concerned matters of fact which the adjudicator had decided and which the Court would not interfere with on an enforcement application.   Despite A&V being the referring party, and the Court questioning if the adjudicator had jurisdiction to direct it to make a payment to J&BH, the Court granted summary judgment in favour of JB&H as the adjudicator's decision that monies were due to JB&H was still binding on A&V.

Click here to read the full judgment.

Manchester's Great Northern Square approved

Manchester City Council has approved plans by Trilogy and Peterson Group for the redevelopment of the Great Northern site in Manchester.  The six acre site includes the Grade II-listed, Great Northern Warehouse which will be converted into 120,000 square feet of office space.
Deansgate Terrace will be restored and refreshed to provide flexible commercial space and 746 flats will be constructed across three tower blocks following demolition of the current Leisure Box. 

The project is estimated to cost in the region of £300m and will generate £38.2m in GVA per annum. Work is expected to start in 2024.

The press release from Triology is available here.

Lendlease Construction (Europe) Limited v Aecom Limited, Aecom Holdings Limited

Lendlease applied to amend its Particulars of Claim following judgment in an upstream action between Lendlease and a third party.  In determining Lendlease's application, the Court disapplied the usual costs order, ordering costs in the case.  The judge noted that the majority of the amendments flowed from the judgment in the upstream claim or involved repetition of material that already existed in the Scott Schedule and that it appeared to have been accepted by the parties that amendments of this type would be needed upon hand down of the judgment in the upstream claim. 

Lendlease also proposed amendments designed to effect a discontinuance against the Second Defendant.  The Court did not require service of a notice of discontinuance but did order that Lendlease should pay the Second Defendant's costs.  The judge noted that there must be unusual circumstances if the default rule was to be disapplied.

Click here to read the full judgment.

GLA requires at least two staircases to be provided in residential development over 30 metres

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has announced, with immediate effect, that all planning applications for residential buildings over 30 meters will be required to include at least two staircases to be considered by the Mayor of London for final approval. 

The GLA's planning team is working with London boroughs to progress schemes which are currently in the pipeline to ensure they include two staircases where necessary before any Stage 2 referral. 

Click here to read the full announcement.
Thank you to Helen Thomas, Nikita Austin, Kelly Smith and Paul Smylie for contributing to this week's edition.