Page 8 - London Business Matters May 2020
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 8 Your business   May 2020                    SPONSORED COLUMN Construction Claims And Coronavirus Ryland Ash, Managing Partner Silver Shemmings Ash Construction projects of all shapes and sizes face the same risks: delays and additional costs; but these risks have increased exponentially since the outbreak of the Coronavirus. The first issue to establish before a claim can be made is: which party has accepted the risk associated with the delay event or the additional cost? This will be determined by the terms of the contract the parties have entered into or, where not expressly stated or agreed, by terms implied by the common law and statutes. In the UK and on international projects, it is common for parties to use ‘standard’ building contracts such as the JCT, NEC and FIDIC forms that contain essential terms relating to scope, price and time for completion. Often, however, bespoke amendments are made to these standard forms in favour of the party driving the changes, usually making the obligations of the contractor more onerous. This is the crucial moment when risk is re-allocated - way before any construction work has even begun. There are a number of standard contractual provisions that may be relevant to the issue of the Coronavirus: instructions, changes or variations, suspension, prevention and force majeure. Most of these provisions will entitle a contractor to an extension of time, but only some of them will entitle a contractor to recover the loss and expense it incurs as a result. This is the big issue in construction law right now. Tel: 0207 167 6602 Mob: 07900 166 754 Riding out the pandemic   Under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (as amended in 2009), English law provides that there is a right under every qualifying ‘construction contract’ to regular interim payments, and to seek a decision from a third-party adjudicator within 28 days from any dispute arising under the contract. Adjudication is a very cost-effective and quick process when compared to Court proceedings and for these reasons, over 90% of all construction disputes that we see are resolved this way. As the full impact of the current pandemic takes hold economically, the priority for construction projects is cash flow. The best way to maintain this is to enforce your rights early and quickly. Seeking an early and sensible agreement with your contractor or client is the ideal solution, but such agreements need to be carefully worded if they are to be binding and reliable. If an agreement cannot be reached, then adjudication is likely to be the best way to save your project. To avoid these issues altogether, the parties need to have agreed contract terms that fully meet the requirements of the project by setting down appropriate procedures to manage the risks effectively. Achieving this aim requires specialist legal and commercial advice from construction lawyers throughout the lifecycle of the project. Ryland Ash is the Managing Partner at Silver Shemmings Ash. He is dual qualified as a Barrister & Solicitor-Advocate and the focus of his work is dispute resolution. – advice and support Navigating the schemes and initiatives to help businesses – and individuals – survive the pandemic and stay in some sort of shape to be able to operate effectively in the new world is a challenging task in itself. London Business Matters picks out a selection of sources of help to ease the path, starting with an extract from the LCCI website Government advice and support Stay alert with the latest informa- tion from the Government and the UK’s response to coronavirus. • Coronavirus Business Support business-support • Find coronavirus financial sup- port for your business coronavirus-support-finder • Apply for furlough funding wages-through-the-coronavirus- job-retention-scheme • Covid-19: The Pensions Regula- tor uk/en/covid-19-coronavirus- what-you-need-to-consider CyberAware The National Cyber Security Cen- tre (NCSC) has launched a cam- paign to provide advice on how the public can protect their passwords, accounts and devices. In tandem with the launch of a new Suspi- cious Email Reporting Service, the NCSC are working to stop criminals undertaking coronavirus related scams. home    

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