The Week That Was - 30 June 2023

Published on 30 June 2023

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

Construction industry guidelines on drugs and alcohol

Build UK, which represents 40% of the construction industry (by bringing together contractors, trade associations and other representative organisations), has published new guidelines on how construction firms should deal with the issue of drugs and alcohol.  This includes drinking at corporate events. 

The Guidelines come after the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) was warned, in April this year, that drug and alcohol misuse on construction sites was a “ticking timebomb”.  The CLC stated that it believes the guidelines will "help to raise awareness of the risks and potential harm to health associated with the use of drugs and alcohol and provide a framework to enable instances of misuse to be handled in an appropriate, fair and consistent manner”.
Read the Guidelines on Build UK's website: here.

Civil procedure rule committee confirms no extension of the time-consuming disclosure obligations under Practice Direction 57AD

At the annual open meeting of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee, the Committee confirmed that there were no plans to extend PD 57AD beyond the Business & Property Courts for the time being.  

PD 57AD sets out a detailed process under which the parties attempt to agree an approach to Disclosure.  It has received mixed reviews since it was introduced.  Many practitioners report that parties spend more time (particularly in complex and high value litigation) dealing with Disclosure where the Practice Direction applies.

In addition, the MoJ is not looking to apply, within the Fixed Recoverable Costs regime arriving in October, a 35% uplift on costs paid by Claimants where they fail to accept "winning" Part 36 offers by Defendants.  However, a Claimant will receive a 35% uplift where its Part 36 offer should have been accepted.

The FRC regime will otherwise limit the amount of costs a Claimant can recover in a non-complex case worth £100,000 or less. 

The full Minutes of the Civil Procedure Rules Committee can be read: here.

Predicted construction trends for the second half of 2023

RPC has published an article in the RICS Construction Journal exploring construction trends expected in 2023.  The article covers several key areas, including the Building Safety Act 2022, skills shortages, supply chain disruptions, sustainability, ESG considerations, and the mixed medium-term outlook.

The Building Safety Act 2022 takes centre stage in the article, highlighting its significance in improving safety and quality standards in buildings.  Skills shortages pose a persistent challenge, requiring investment in training and upskilling programs to meet rising demand. Supply chain disruptions have increased building costs and project delays, necessitating alternative solutions.

Sustainability and ESG considerations are gaining importance, with eco-friendly practices and technologies being adopted to reduce carbon emissions.  The article emphasises the need for proactive strategies to navigate challenges and to thrive in the evolving construction landscape.

To read the article, please click here.

JCT announces 2024 Edition

The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) has announced the next edition of its suite of contracts at its annual Construction Industry Parliament Reception.
Changes from the current edition, JCT 2016, include using more modern language and integrating provisions relating to collaborative working, the environment and sustainable development.  JCT 2024 also includes a new form of contract known as the Target Cost Contract (TCC), which consists of the main contract, sub-contract and guide.  Major legislative updates centre on the Building Safety Act, Construction Act and the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020.

For further information, please see here.

HS2 contractors told to communicate with residents over project delays

HS2's independent construction commissioner has said residents "need a clear idea of what to expect and when to expect it" following further delays.  The commissioner's 25th quarterly report focuses on contractors' communication with residents, following concerns around further delays announced in March and 273 complaints made so far this year.

The delays largely centre on the Euston Station and Tunnel areas.  The firms working on these areas have stated they may have to make redundancies as a result of the Government's decision to pause work.

To date, there have been 381 small claims, 64 of which have been approved.  A total of £23,573 has been paid through HS2's Small Claims Scheme, which has been designed "to give a prompt response and minimum cost and inconvenience to the claimant."

Read further information here.

Building Safety Act 2022 – frequently asked questions

On 22 June 2023, the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors published frequently asked questions about the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA).

The questions and responses provide a useful guide for understanding the BSA and responsibilities under it.  Questions include the reasoning behind the BSA as well as guidance on its practical application. 

You can read more here.


Authors for this week's edition: Chris Brewin, Ava Mathias, Mars Yeung

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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