The Week That Was - 20 October 2023

Published on 20 October 2023

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

What's in a name? 

A judge has found that insurers were liable to indemnify an insured despite its insurance policy specifying the incorrect name.

The case relates to 'The George in Rye' pub which was damaged by a fire in July 2019.  While the named insured was “George on High Ltd t/a The George in Rye”, a separate company (George on Rye Ltd (GoR)) owned the restaurant and hotel business operating in the property.

The judge found that, whilst the name of the insured on the policy was "insufficient to identify what was meant", it was clear when looking at the wider facts that GoR was intended to be insured under the policy.  The judge's reasoning included that:

  • GoR was the party operating the business;
  • The policy listed business interruption and employer's liability as insured risks; and
  • GoR had paid the premiums since 2013.

The full judgment is available here

Redevelopment in Sutton

The London Borough of Sutton is seeking a partner for a £500m town centre redevelopment scheme, with a view to working together on a 10-year job to redevelop four sites in London's southern suburb.

The sites earmarked for redevelopment are: St Nicholas Shopping Centre, Secombe Theatre, Gibson Road Car Park and the Civic Centre.  The proposal is also expected to produce around 1,000 new homes, 180,000 square feet of commercial space and a new public area, to create an "attractive and distinctive" identity for the town centre.  The Borough is targeting "as close as is possible" to a carbon neutral development.

The Borough further aims to boost the town's connectivity and accessibility, increase the town's affordable housing and provide the requisite social and community infrastructure.

To read more, please click here.

Carillion – key recent updates

Five of the collapsed company's former non-executive directors were due in the High Court on 16 October.  However, at short notice on 13 October, the Insolvency Service confirmed they had dropped disqualification proceedings, which were being brought under s.6 of the Companies Directors Disqualification Act 1986 ('Duty of court to disqualify unfit directors').  A spokesperson from the Insolvency Service stated that: “continuing with the proceedings…was no longer in the public interest" and "the parties agreed that the proceedings should be concluded by way of agreement and without the need for a trial or the associated expense".  More information is available here.

Meanwhile, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC)'s investigation into KPMG has concluded on agreed terms, namely a record fine of £21m.  KMPG agreed to take remedial action to prevent these breaches from happening again. More information on the findings of the investigation is available here.

BDP reveals plans for a 'low-carbon' Swansea neighbourhood 

BDP have submitted plans for a new energy-efficient housing development in Swansea, comprising 159 timber frame council homes.   The homes are aimed at a range of different age groups, and will include one-bedroom flats, two to four-bedroom houses, and bungalows.  They will be powered by solar panels and heated by ground-source heat pumps, with battery storage and MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery).

The plan also includes green spaces and play areas, and will be situated near Kilvey Woods, one of Swansea’s largest urban fringe woodlands. The BDP team hopes the development will "[prioritise] the wellbeing of the people who live there and [support] social cohesion." Andrea Lewis, the cabinet member for service transformation and Swansea Council deputy leader, said: ‘‘If approved, the project will help ease demand, especially from families, for more homes in Swansea."

More information is available here.

Glenigan finds planning approvals 32% above 2022 levels

Construction industry monitoring firm Glenigan has found detailed planning approvals in the third quarter of 2023 were up by 12% compared to the second quarter, and up by a total of 32% compared to last year.

The increased approval rates shown in Glenigan's index provides an optimistic outlook against a backdrop of contract awards falling 27% in the third quarter when compared to quarter 2, and total contract awards also falling in comparison to 2022 levels (down 12%).

Allan Willen, Economic Director of Glenigan, commented that "as economic and political disruption continues, we'll likely see clients and contractors continue to adopt a cautious approach to start dates until the landscape looks a little less hostile."

Click here to read more.

Trade Unions call for asbestos removal from all public buildings within 40-year deadline

Unions representing a range of public sector workers, including teachers and medical staff, have written to the major UK political parties to demand that asbestos is removed from all public buildings within the next 40 years. 

The coalition of Trade Unions have called on the leaders of the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Green Party, and the Liberal Democrats to all include a commitment to remove asbestos from non-domestic buildings within their manifestos ahead of the next General Election. 

The letter urges parties to adopt the recommendations of the Work and Pensions Select Committee's "Health and Safety Executive's approach to asbestos management report" from 2022, and highlights that asbestos remains " the biggest cause of work-related deaths in Britain", describing the health consequences of asbestos exposure as "one of the great workplaces tragedies of modern times".

Click here to read more.


Authors for this week's edition: Tom Westford, Emily Snow and Hannah Kendall

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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