The Week That Was - 27 January 2023

Published on 27 January 2023

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

Fire Safety Regulations for high-rise residential buildings

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into force on Monday, 23 January 2023.  They impose obligations on 'the responsible person' in 'high-rise residential buildings' to provide certain fire safety information to residents and fire & rescue authorities. This includes: copies of various plans, fire safety instructions, information on fire doors and the design of the external walls of the building (including details of the material from which the external walls are constructed, details of the level of risk that the design and materials of the external walls give rise to and any mitigating steps that have been taken in respect of that risk).

For more information, please click here.

Architect Act 1997 (Amendment) Regulations change requirements for EU architects

On 17 January 2023 the Government signed the Architect Act 1997 (Amendment) Regulations. This ends the UK's automatic recognition of architectural qualifications listed in the EU's Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications.  The new Regulations also enable the Architect Registration Board to enter into recognition agreements with other Countries.  The Regulations do not affect the rights of EU architects already registered in the UK.

For more information, please click here.

Developer ordered to contribute towards leaseholders' service charges

On 13 January 2023 first Remediation Contribution Order under section 124 of the Building Safety Act 2022 was issued against developer and landlord, Inspired Sutton Limited.  The developer was ordered to contribute towards the leaseholders' service charges for the remediation of the balconies and external works of a building in Sutton.

For more information, please click here.

Design and build sub-contractor liable for external wall defects - LDC (Portfolio One) Ltd v George Downing Construction Ltd and another [2022]

An external wall sub-contractor has been held liable for water ingress and fire safety defects in three high-rise residential properties in Manchester.  
A contractor and a sub-contractor had been engaged on a design and build basis, with the freeholder obtaining the benefit of a collateral warranty from each of them.  A settlement was reached with the contractor, but the sub-contractor was insolvent.

The freeholder's claim against the sub-contractor and the contractor's claim for a contribution from the sub-contractor proceeded to trial, without the sub-contractor's participation.  Both claims were successful.  

This case addresses similar issues to those considered in Martlet Homes Ltd v Mulalley & Co Ltd [2022] EWHC 1813 (TCC).  It is a further reported judgment of a building safety claim relating to high-rise properties and addresses.

Please see a link to the judgment here.

London Circuit Commercial Court (LCCC) refuses to grant an injunction to prevent use of privileged documents disclosed inadvertently

An LCCC judge has refused an injunction preventing the Claimant using documents which the Defendant claimed were subject to litigation privilege and had been inadvertently disclosed within a PDF compilation of documents.

The Claimant contended that some of the documents revealed potential wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct.  The judge distinguished two situations:

  • Where an allegedly privileged document evidenced iniquity (privilege never attaches).
  • Where, as a result of the potential wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct revealed, or as a matter of justice, it would be wrong to injunct the use of the inadvertently disclosed material.

The Defendant failed to establish inadvertent disclosure. There was insufficient evidence regarding why the documents were included in the PDF, or why the PDF was disclosed when the Defendant could not say it was privileged as a compilation. The judge held that granting injunctive relief regarding those documents would be unjust and inequitable.

Please see a link to the judgment here.

Construction Skills Network annual report

Despite the current economic uncertainty, the Construction Skills Network annual report (by the Construction Industry Training Board) believes 225,000 extra construction workers will be needed by 2027 to cope with demand in private housing, infrastructure and repair and maintenance.  It expects that the number of people in the industry in four years' time will be 2.67m, with an extra 45,000 new workers needed a year.

For more information, please click here.


Authors for this week's edition: Ellen Ryan, Jonathan Carrington and Tom Westford

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