The Week That Was - 9 June 2023

Published on 09 June 2023

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

Labour Party proposes major overhaul of compulsory purchase order rules

The Labour Party is drawing up proposals to overhaul the Land Compensation Act 1961 to allow local authorities to purchase land at its agricultural value, rather than the "hope value" which a seller might expect to realise on the open market, if it can be demonstrated that this is in the public interest.  While the Government has recently announced new powers enabling the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to limit "hope value" compensation payments on a scheme-by-scheme basis, the Labour proposals go much further, with the intention of meeting housebuilding targets and lowering the costs of development. The Labour Party claims that the proposals will bring land valuation more in line with systems in Germany and France, and will shift the balance of power away from landowners and in favour of communities in need of housing.

To read more, please click here.

Barratt commits to fixing unsafe cladding

Barratt Developments has become the first major housebuilder to sign the Scottish Safer Buildings Accord.  Under the Accord, the UK's largest housebuilder has committed to resolving life-critical fire-safety defects in external wall cladding systems in buildings with a height of over 11 metres that were developed by Barratt in the past 30 years in Scotland. Barratt's announcement comes a week after the Scottish Government reached an 'in principle' agreement with some of the UK's largest housing developers on cladding remediation.  The Safer Buildings Accord is not the final step in resolving cladding related issues in Scotland, as developers and the Scottish Government still must agree on a legally binding long-form contract to address outstanding issues.

To read more, please click here.

Contractors sought for major electricity network upgrade

National Grid has launched their Great Grid Upgrade Partnership.

The aim is to transform the network to be able to accommodate the influx of clean energy being generated and distribute it to UK homes.  The contract, valued at £9.8bn in total, is part of the UK's net zero goals.

National Grid is seeking contractors to work on an initial eight-year, £4.5bn agreement which centres on nine onshore projects across England and Wales.

Click here to read more.

Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Act receives Royal Assent

Wales' first piece of primary procurement legislation has received Royal Assent.

The Social Partnership and Public Procurement Act aims to promote socially responsible procurement and social partnership working, to improve the wellbeing of the Welsh people.

The Act imposes a new duty on some public bodies to engage with their recognised trade unions or staff representatives when delivering on their wellbeing objectives under the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015.

The Act will also see the creation of a Social Partnership Council for Wales, which aims to improve the economic, environment, social and cultural wellbeing of Wales.

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Contractor Search Begins for £53m Nuclear Decommissioning Job

Magnox has been put in charge of safely decommissioning the former nuclear power station situated in Trawsfynydd, North Wales.

The station's two reactor buildings, each standing at 180ft tall, must be reduced in height to around 120ft through partial and systematic demolition in order to ensure that the buildings maintain compliance with current planning commitments.

To achieve this aim, Magnox are looking to contract out these works, with the aim of ensuring that the towers remain durable for years to come so that they may provide safe storage for the current inventory of housed plant.

Any interested parties wishing to undertake the work must submit pre-qualification questionnaires by 26 June, with further selection phases to follow.

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Extreme weather events in New Zealand a reminder to check limits of insurance

Recent instances of extreme weather in New Zealand have caused significant damage to commercial and residential properties nationwide, triggering property insurance advisers to urge policyholders to double-check the sum for which their properties are insured.

As summer arrives across the northern hemisphere, the risk of similar widespread weather-related incidents is set to increase.  Day-to-day risks to properties, such as minor flooding from plumbing issues, will in all likelihood be covered under each policy's indemnity limit.  However, forceful natural events can cause significant structural damage that may lead to financial liability that exceeds the limits of policy coverage. 

In order to ensure policyholders are prepared for every eventuality, they should consult their policy documentation and consider the indemnity limit value in relation to the valuation of their property, so that any stormy weather remains outside the bounds of their personal or corporate finances.

Click here to read more.

Guidance for Principal Accountable Persons on registering properties with the Building Safety Regulator

On 17 May 2023, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) released new guidance "Giving BSR structure and fire safety information (key building information)" aimed at assisting principal accountable persons (PAP) to provide the information required when registering a high-rise residential building with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR).  The requirement to register all high-rise residential buildings with the newly created BSR (operated by the HSE) is one of the key reforms brought in by the Government under the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA), following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in 2017.

You can read the article on the guidance here.

Authors for this week's edition: Georgina Haynes, Laura Sponti and Bryce Jones.

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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