The Week That Was - 11 February 2022

Published on 11 February 2022

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

EXE Fibreglass sentenced following HSE investigation

Ian Davey t/a Exe Fibreglass of Beacon Hill, Exmouth, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 after an unpaid work experience labourer fell through a skylight during the renovation of an old asbestos cement roof at an industrial building in Exeter on 23 October 2018.  The labourer fell 5.5m to the floor below and suffered multiple fractures to his hand, wrist and ribs.  Plymouth Magistrates Court handed Mr Davey a 12-month Community Order, which includes 80 hours of unpaid work, and ordered him to pay costs of £3,000.

The HSE investigated the incident and found that the work had not been properly planned; there was a lack of training or experience in the supervision of others working at height; and, there were no preventative or safety measures in place for the skylights such as netting, crawl boards or safety harnesses in use.  This matter therefore serves as a timely reminder for construction firms to ensure that all workers (even casual workers) have adequate training, and that there are proper health and safety precautions in place at worksites, to mitigate the risk of serious injury at work (including working at height).

Read the HSE Press Release here.

Works stopped at major London development 

Works at the £900m One Nine Elms development in Vauxhall, London have largely stopped after the developer, R&F Properties, failed to pay the main contractor, Multiplex, for work it has carried out.  Due to be completed by November 2022, the mixed-use development of 1.14m square feet will consist of two towers of 56 and 42 storeys, a luxury hotel, some 450 residential apartments and retail space. This is not the first time work at the project has stopped over pay issues, with work also ceasing when R&F Properties failed to pay Multiplex a £15m payment bond for work done in 2019, for which the TCC held that Multiplex was entitled to suspend works. Work at the development is not expected to restart until the spring. 

For further information, please click here and here

Jennifer Daly appointed as new Taylor Wimpey CEO

Jennie Daly will succeed Pete Redfern as the Taylor Wimpey CEO effective from the conclusion of the company's AGM on 26 April 2022.
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Proposals to knock down ITV's Southbank Studios

Lendlease, Sir Robert McAlpine and Laing O'Rourke are all reported to be in the running for a scheme to knock down ITV's London Studios at 72 Upper Ground on the South Bank and replace it with a £400m office development with a 26-storey tower The plans by Make Architects went to Lambeth planners in summer 2021 but no decision has yet been made.  Also reported to be working on the deal are QS, Alinea; landscape architects, Grant Associates; and engineers, Arup.  In addition to office space, the development will also offer retail and cultural space with two new public squares.  The plans are controversial however, with local community groups raising concerns about the development's impact on the character of the South Bank and potentially blocking sunlight and views along the river towards St Paul's Cathedral.  

For further information, please click here.

Insurers call for hybrid approach to timber construction 

RISCAuthority has recently carried out research into the risks of mass timber structures on behalf of 24 insurers, including Aviva, Axa and Zurich, advising that buildings should include all-concrete cores and structure up to first floor level and concrete floors that alternate with structural timber above.  The recommendation is that at least half of the structure of multi-storey buildings should be non-combustible, to make them easier to insure.  The recommendations are reported to be based on examples where a hybrid approach has been adopted following negotiations with insurers.  The growth in non-traditional methods of construction, including timber, has led to an increase in claims, including for issues relating to fire safety and water damage, to which timber is susceptible.  

For further information, please click here.

Thanks to Zack Gould-Wilson, Felicity Strong and Nina Charalambous for contributing to this week's edition.

Disclaimer: The information in this publication is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  We attempt to ensure that the content is current as at the date of publication, but we do not guarantee that it remains up to date.  You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content

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