The Week That Was - 4 March 2022

Published on 04 March 2022

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

Supply chain issues are main barrier to construction achieving net zero

 A new report, based on research by more than 100 senior executives of construction firms, reveals that there are significant barriers to achieving net zero.

Respondents highlighted a number of hurdles that would need to be overcome if the construction sector is to achieve net-zero, including improving material supply chain, using alternative materials which have a lower carbon footprint and decarbonising existing buildings.

For further information please click here.

National Cyber Security Centre issues new cyber guidelines

 The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) have issued new cyber security guidance, pitched at small and medium sized construction businesses.

The guidance was issued in recognition of the growing reliance on digitally enabled working within the construction industry, and the volume of data and high-value payments that they handle.

The guidance is split into two broad sections, the first section is aimed at explaining why cyber security is important, and the second provides practical advice to staff with responsibility over IT equipment.

The guidance sets out 7 steps for construction firms to boost their cyber resilience, and covers topics such as password hygiene, the importance of backing up devices, how to spot and avoid phishing attacks, working alongside partners on addressing potential supply chain security issues, and preparing for, and responding to, security incidents.

For further information, please click here.  A copy of the guide can be found here.

Alebrahim v BM Design London Ltd

This case was an appeal against an earlier judgment by the Claimant against the dismissal of her claim against the Defendant (an interior designer) for damages in respect of overspend and delay regarding the refurbishment of her property.

The contract provided that the Defendant was entitled to charge a 20% interior design fee based on the total cost of the works. The Defendant's position was that this applied to the retail price of the items rather than the cost price, which the Judge in the first instance agreed with.

The Appeal Judge found that, in accordance with the contract, the Defendant was to provide the Claimant with an itemised weekly estimate.  The Claimant would agree the items and/or figures it contained, and the 20% fee would be invoiced thereafter.  The Judge held that the Claimant was under no obligation to accept the estimates and noted that the contract expressly provided that if the Claimant chose a completely different item, there was no fee due to the Defendant. 

The appeal was dismissed.

A copy of the judgment can be found here.

The RICS updates its guidance on Japanese Knotweed 

Taking effect this month, the RICS has said that its new guidance "reflects an improved understanding" of Japanese Knotweed.  Previously, the RICS advised that homes where Japanese Knotweed was present over seven metres away were a lower risk, meaning they could be approved for a mortgage. However, where Japanese Knotweed was identified less than seven metres away, this impacted homeowners’ ability to sell, or get a mortgage on, affected properties.  In some cases, the weed has resulted in a property’s value being reduced by as much as 15 per cent.  The new guidance, on the other hand, advises surveyors to use their discretion when determining the impact of the weed on a property.  The Homeowners Alliance welcomes the new guidance, which it says is correction of the RICS' previous "exaggerated response" to Japanese Knotweed.    

For further information, please click here.

HSE targets booming Birmingham construction sites

 Birmingham, who are preparing to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, has faced a large increase in new construction activity, with construction activity in 2021 almost doubling.

The HSE are set to undertake a number of site visits in order to ensure safety and site conditions are as expected. There is a concern that with a high volume of construction sites in the city centre, there is inevitably more potential for accidents and poor working conditions, which have their own risks.

For further information, please click here.

Thanks to Charlie Underwood, Faye Hopton-Cottrell and Liz Johnson 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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