If you’re in the middle of renovating, gaining planning permission to build your new home or fixing a commercial property, you will need the help of experienced architects, structural engineers, project managers, specialist contractors, sub-contractors and interior designers.
However, given the increasing complexity of many construction projects, it isn’t uncommon to become involved in contractual disputes, loss and expenses claims and defective work arguments among many more. Disagreements over the scope of contractual terms, construction delays and contractor insolvency may result in unexpected costs and have knock-on effects for your construction works. Don’t worry we’re here to help.
If you believe your contractor, architect or structural engineer has breached their contractual duties, or if you are a contractor and need to make a loss and expenses claim, it’s important that you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
We offer direct access to our panel of construction barristers, with an all-inclusive paralegal support service to give you the help you need throughout your construction works issue.
Your construction dispute may require Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), arbitration and litigation that could result in costly legal fees. However, our legal experts can offer you cost-effective payment solutions to minimise your legal fees upfront, so you can receive the legal support you need.
We make direct access work for you by eliminating the burden of managing administrative aspects of your construction case. Our paralegals will take care of a wide range of litigation support functions, including documentation management and filing that your barrister may expect you to do yourself.
Our construction specialists offer legal advice for a wide range of clients including, home owners, employers, contractors, suppliers and developers.
Don’t hesitate to contact one of our legal experts today for direct access to barristers, paralegal assistance and affordable payment plans on 0800 888 6760.
We take into consideration your individual circumstances, to help you get the best possible outcome. If you have already appointed a construction barrister to your case, we can still offer you our paralegal services and cost-effective payment solutions. We will and will make all the necessary arrangements on your behalf, so you can receive the legal support you need today, personally. Start your payment plan now to arrange your payment plan.
Our construction barristers offer inclusive support and tactical advice on:
• Contractual disputes;
• Loss and expense claims;
• Defective works;
• Contractor and employer insolvency;
• Retention of title claims
• Remedial works; and
• Debt collection disputes.
Building contracts are a binding agreement between home owners/ employers and building contractors who are responsible for carrying out the construction project. The contract should effectively establish the expectations of contractors and sub-contractors which includes building specifications; detailed drawings; pre-construction planning; costs and provision of labour, materials and services and a scheduled date of completion.
Having a well written construction contract will also help you to reduce risks, through agreed indemnity and insurance provisions, between you and your contractor.
Our construction barristers can help you draft contracts and resolve disputes surrounding:
• Engineering Procurement Contracts;
• Terms & conditions (T&C) for commercial and residential builders;
• Bonds and guarantees;
• Professional liability;
• Standard Building Contracts (SBC), Design & Build (DB), The Associate of Consultant Architects (ACA) and Joint Contract Tribunal (JCT).
• Collateral warranties; and
• Contract termination.
Disputes may arise over the contract scope of work, including amendments to building specifications, claims for additional costs, minor changes to construction and termination conditions. Contractors and interior designers may also disagree on clashing interpretations of certain terms and conditions and drawings, particularly if the provisions are contradictory or unclear.
If dispute resolution procedures are effectively put in place, contractors may continue working on a project even while a contract dispute is in progress, to avoid delays. However, it is essential to fully read and understand your contract, as this may also affect what type of dispute resolution avenue you can take. Many construction contracts only offer arbitration as means of resolving disputes, which effectively rules out court proceedings.
Standard construction contracts include:
• A complete record of the main contractor’s business information;
• Total costs and payment schedules for the project;
• Planning specifications and detailed description of the project, including required goods/ materials and planning/land permits;
• Work schedule and practical completion date;
• Retention of title provisions; and
• Payment bonds.
Construction contract disputes can be particularly costly and cause major delays in your project, so it is essential that you and your contractor agree to the T&C’s and their implications.
If you believe your contractor has breached the agreed construction contract, our experienced panel of construction barristers can help.
We can offer you direct access to an expert barrister with an all-inclusive paralegal support service to help you get the best result from your contractual dispute.
Our paralegals can help draft your construction contract, make amendments and negotiate with your contractor, interior designer and architects on your behalf. Our panel of direct access barristers advise on construction projects of all size, offering arbitration, mediation, and if all other dispute resolution avenues are exhausted, provide you with the best defence in court.
If you are concerned about the legal costs involved in your negotiation, ADR or litigation, don’t worry, we’re here to help. Our legal experts may be able to cover all your legal fees upfront, so you can receive the legal support you need today. To find out more about all the services we provide, call one of our legal experts on 0800 888 6760.
Loss and expense claims
Contractors can claim for any monetary loss and expense he/she suffers as a direct result of an event that caused delay to the regular progress of the construction works.
In order to receive compensation for that loss, the contractor needs to provide evidence that shows the delay was due to the employer’s behaviour, or that an accident occurred where the employer bears the contractual risk.
If the contractor wants to make a claim, they must give a written notice as soon as the regular progress of the works has become ‘materially affected’. The contractor must prove that a ‘relevant matter’ has occurred for where the client is responsible, however, this does not always entitle the contractor to an extension time.
The contract administrator or quantity surveyor may provide compensation for the contractor who makes a direct loss and/or expense claim, if the progress of works is affected by relevant matters including:
• Delays in receiving instructions and planning specifications;
• Blatant discrepancies in the contract;
• Disruption caused by the client;
• Failure by the client to supply materials or goods;
• Inaccurate forecasting of works;
• Failure to give the contractor possession of the site;
• Failure to give the contractor access to and from the site;
• Instructions relating to variations and expenditure of provisional sums.
Contractors can only claim for ‘direct’ loss and expenses that are evident as a breach in the contractual terms. Contractors may claim for disruption or prolongation, depending on the individual circumstances surrounding the construction works. This means that claims for disruption and claims for extensions of practical completion may not necessarily run together.
You may also be able to make a claim if there is evidence of a ‘relevant event’. This differs from a ‘relevant matter’ as this can be a neutral occurrence that is not caused by either party. For example, flash floods, extreme wind or national strikes.
However, if the progression of works is materially affected due to actions of the contractor, the contractor may be liable to pay liquidated damages to the client. If they have not organised materials correctly, or there is insufficient labour to finish the task at the practical completion date, the client may have the right to terminate the contract and hire other professionals to take over.
For the losses and expense claim to be successful, the contractor will have to provide detailed information and material showing that the relevant event, or relevant matter has directly caused the losses.
If you believe that you have incurred losses during the progress of construction works, we’re here to help. Working nationwide, we provide direct access to barristers and all-inclusive paralegal support to assist you with the administrative aspects of your case.
Our paralegals can help you collect time sheets, site diaries, signing-in records, expense sheets and quantum evidence to validate your claim. We can offer alternative dispute resolution and arbitration to resolve disputes quickly and amicably, so there is little to no disruption in your construction works. However, in more litigious cases, our direct access barristers will provide the best representation in court to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
We can also offer you affordable payment plans, to manage your legal fees upfront. Our legal experts may be able to pay 100% of your legal costs, so you won’t need to make any instalments until your issue is settled.
Get in touch with our direct access barristers and paralegals for tactical advice and cost-effective payment solutions. Call us now for more information on 0800 888 6760.
Delays and Time extensions
Most construction contracts generally allow for the practical completion date to be extended where the delay is not the contractor’s fault. This is described as an Extension of Time (EOT). If it becomes reasonably apparent that there will be a delay in the progression of works, the contractor needs to give written notice to the contract administrator, explaining the ‘relevant event’ that has directly caused the delay.
Relevant events may include:
♣ Failure to provide planning specifications;
♣ Adverse weather conditions;
♣ Terrorism or civil unrest;
♣ Delay on the part of a nominated sub-contractor;
♣ Statutory undertaker’s work;
♣ A delay in giving the contractor possession of the site;
♣ Force majeure/ ‘act of God’;
♣ Loss or damages caused by flooding;
♣ The supply of materials and goods by the client; or
♣ Delays in planning receiving permissions.
After the written notice has been evaluated by the contract administrator, they may accept that the delay was directly caused by a relevant event and grant an EOT. The practical completion date will be adjusted shortly after the decision has been made.
Clients and contractors may be entitled to receive compensations for damages of ‘non-excusable delays’. These delays may be mentioned in the contractual terms under ‘Liquidated and Ascertained Damages’ (LADs). However, regardless of what is stated in the contract, collecting evidence for causation and fault of delay, may result in disputes among clients and contractors.
Lodging claims for extension of time on practical completion can be complex and controversial. To gain an EOT, claims must demonstrate the link between the breach (cause) and the delay.
In some circumstances, there may be multiple reasons for delays, which may not be solely the fault of the contractor or client. However, if the contractor has evidence proving that the client is at fault, they are entitled to apply for EOT to avoid having to pay LADs.
Claiming EOT’s may not only be in the benefit for contractors alone. If a delay occurred which was not the contractor’s fault, the contractor would have no obligation to complete the works by the practical completion date and would only then have to complete the works in a ‘reasonable’ timeframe. This may mean that the client would lose any right to liquidated damages.
Instructing the right team of construction specialists to guide you throughout your delay and time extensions claim can take a lot of the stress away. We offer direct access to barristers and additional paralegal assistance to help collect all the necessary documents to effectively manage your case.
Our paralegals can assist with documentation management and compile crucial evidence that highlights the specific issue causing delays in construction.
Photographs, sketches, project schedules, witness statements and communication problems may help when making your EOT claim. We can draft your written notice, negotiate with your contract administrator on your behalf and provide arbitration to resolve the dispute, so as not to delay the project further. However, if all other avenues have been exhausted, our direct access barristers can also offer the best representation in court proceedings.
If you believe that construction works are delayed to no fault of your own, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our panel of construction barristers today. We offer tactical legal advice and cost-effective payment plans to minimise your legal fees upfront. Call us now on 0800 888 6760.
Defective work claims are one of the most common claims made by clients. Defective work can involve a wide range of issues, from minor cosmetic defects to major structural problems that could delay the progress of construction and significantly increase the costs for clients and contractors.
Construction defects may arise from:
• Design flaws;
• Material deficiencies;
• Specification problems; and
• Workmanship deficiencies.
There are three situations where defective work claims can be made, these include; defects identified prior to practical completion; defects identified during the defects liability period and defects identified after the final certificate was issued.
Defects may arise because the work was not carried out in a ‘good and workmanlike manner’, or because incorrect materials have been used, which may mean that the responsibility lies with the contractor and their suppliers.
Alternatively, the interior designer or structural engineer could be at fault, if a planning design collapses or is not functioning the way that it should, for example, leaks in the roof, subsiding foundations and uneven ceilings. In most construction scenarios, the contractor would normally be liable for damages caused and may even face professional negligence charges, if their work is considered to be defective. However, consequential claims may be brought against interior designers, supply chain managers and structural engineers if necessary.
The claim may be assessed on the basis of:
• The reasonable cost of repair of the defect work; and
• The difference in value or loss of amenity of the relevant work.
In these circumstances, contractors may be allowed to return defective materials during an agreed rectification period. The date of assessment for loss, is when the defect first became noticeable. However, when the valuation of the cost for defective works is calculated, the time needed to repair the relevant works is taken into consideration as well.
Our experienced direct access barristers can help you through each stage of the defective claim process. With additional paralegal support, we can assist you with drafting your letters to claim, negotiate with contractors, structural engineers, interior designers and suppliers on your behalf and offer mediation and arbitration to ensure you receive what you’re entitled to.
If you believe your contractor or another member of your construction team breached your contract in relation to defective work, contact one of our legal experts at the earliest opportunity. We can offer you affordable payment plans to help you manage your costs throughout the entire defective work claims process. Contact one of our construction barristers now on 0800 888 6760.
If your contractor becomes insolvent, or is facing financial difficulties in the middle of construction works, the first course of action clients should take, is to ensure that they have obtained all bank bonds, parent company guarantees and collateral warranties, to effectively terminate the construction contract. These measures will ensure that clients and sub-contractors minimise the risks involved in contractor insolvency.
If you find yourself in this situation, you may need to; collect all relevant planning specifications and project documentation from the construction team; make retention of title claims from subcontractors; find a new main contractor and recovering compensation. However, you may be able to claim loss and damages for rectifying defective work/products and the cost of appointing a replacement contractor.
Once you have been informed of the contractor insolvency in writing, you should conduct a comprehensive audit of on-site, taking note of equipment and materials and put in place protective measures to ensure that what is on site cannot be removed. It is also important for the employer to have the correct insurance and that both parties have complied with the insurance obligations under the contract.
You will also need to ensure that all payments are made to the contractor before you terminate the contract. However, in some circumstances, interim payments and releases of retention may no longer need to be paid. You should seek legal advice immediately if you are unsure of what you, or your main contractor is entitled to during insolvency and termination proceedings. This may help to reduce costs to the employer.
After termination, the employer may choose to pay others to carry out and complete the works and to rectify any defects. When the replacement contractor has received third party consent, they have the right to enter and take possession of the site, tools, equipment and site materials. During this transition, the employer will need to approach key suppliers and discuss T&C’s regarding the continued use of hired buildings.
Contractor insolvency can cause a lot of problems for an employer, however, putting protection procedures in the contractual terms may help should you decide to terminate the existing contract and appoint another main contractor. This can help minimise the disruption to construction works and help reduce disputes escalating over finances.
Our construction barristers and paralegals can offer tactical solutions and legal advice to clients in situations where contractors become insolvent. We can negotiate a settlement and help terminate the contract with your main contractor and discuss possibility of extensions with existing sub-contractors/structural engineers on your behalf. Our legal experts can also ensure that all bank bonds, parent company guarantees and collateral warranties are secured with the correct amount of compensation given to both parties.
If you’re concerned about the legal costs involved, we can offer you affordable payment plans to help you manage your fees in the most convenient way. To receive legal support and cost-effective payment solutions contact one of our construction law specialists today on 0800 888 6760.
Retention of title claims
A ‘Retention of title’ (RoT) clause allows a supplier to retain ownership of goods and materials as a form of protection until payment has been made. This is legal requirement under the Sale of Goods Act 1979. A properly drafted retention of title clause in a supply contract trading terms, means that the business can take back the goods it has supplied, should it not be paid in full by those taking delivery of them.
Retention of title documents may include provisions on:
• Claims to original goods and materials;
• Extended claims;
• Claims to altered goods;
• Claims to proceeds of sales.
If the contractor becomes insolvent, or seems likely to become insolvent during the construction works, the supplier must act quickly to establish their case, by giving notice of retention of title, and collect evidence to show that payments have not been made.
However, even if the retention of title is mentioned within the supply contract, it can be difficult to enforce, once construction is underway. When the materials are used, and incorporated into the development, payment can become complicated as the client may have paid in stage instalments, rather than paying in total for specific materials.
It is extremely difficult to take legal action against insolvent contractors if; the supplier’s items have yet to be produced; the items are still to be used on the construction site or; if the materials are still abroad. However, if the RoT clause is valid, a supplier’s right to compensation will be binding against any contractor claiming bankruptcy. The official holder of the goods during construction, cannot legally dispose of goods without providing payment. To avoid disputes, advance payment may be secured with an advance payment bond.
Drafting and implementing Retention of Title can be extremely complex and result in disputes between suppliers and contractors. Unfortunately, unless RoT terms are drafted correctly and properly incorporated into supply agreements, the protection for suppliers may not apply. Therefore, it is essential to seek legal advice from construction specialists at the earliest opportunity.
If you find yourself in the situation where your contractor refuses to pay for used goods, or goes into liquidation/ administration without paying you, our direct access barristers can ensure you recover your materials and receive the right amount of compensation.
If you’re concerned about the administrative tasks involved in your case, our all-inclusive paralegal support services can lift this burden, by taking control over documentation management.
To find out more about the services we provide, contact one of our experienced legal experts today for affordable payment plans and pragmatic advice now on 0800 888 6760.
Remedial work is necessary when defects become apparent during constructive that need corrective action. Contractors or sub-contractors are required to remedy the fault if it is not in accordance with planning specifications during the defect liability period. Careful inspection by architects during construction may be able to effectively eliminate the need for remedial work, unfortunately however, the defect may be unavoidable.
Remedial work is rarely straightforward and disputes may rise on the type of defect and whose job it is to remedy the issue. The types of complications that could occur involve:
• Whether the defect is a maintenance issue;
• Who caused the defect;
• Where the fault lies;
• What type of remedial works necessary to correct the defect; and
• Who will fix the defect.
Many clients may want to place blame and seek to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. However, it’s important to assess the range of remedial actions available and to assess the consequences of delay, disruption and cost of remediation, before you take action. It may be in the client’s best interests to negotiate a settlement with the contractor and sub-contractors rather than to simply seek redress.
When problems are identified before the end of the defect liability period, the contractor will usually be held responsible to carry out necessary remedial work. However, if the client requires the defect to be opened-up and tested, and no fault is found, they will be liable to pay damages for the materials and contractor time.
Before the contractor can be expected to perform remedial work, he must be given notice by the client. The contractor must be given an opportunity to inspect the condition of the defect and, if a subcontractor’s work or supplier’s materials are involved, to further discuss possible solutions and/or liability. However, remedial work should only cover the actual correction of the defective work or product, it shouldn’t involve any unnecessary work or upgrading.
If faults become apparent after the defects liability period, there is no obligation for the contractor to return to the site to undertake remedial work, and the client may need to employ others to correct the defect. The client may in turn, claim damages and recover the reasonable cost of that corrective work from the original contractor through arbitration or court proceedings.
Our direct access barristers work closely with you to understand the nature of your remedial work issue. We can evaluate the projected and incurred losses for both parties. Our additional paralegal support services can assist in drafting written notices to the contractor, and negotiate with contractors, sub-contractors, structural engineers and interior decorators on your behalf to reach an agreed settlement.
If you need compensation for incomplete remedial work, we can provide the best direct access barrister to defend you in court. Our legal experts can also advise new contractors on remedial work procedures to ensure your defects issue is resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If you are unhappy with the construction work, and find a default, you may have right to make a claim for remedial work. Our panel of construction barristers and paralegals are on standby to offer legal support and cost-effective payment solutions. Contact a member of our legal team today on 0800 888 6760 or start your payment plan now to arrange your payment plan.
Debt collection Disputes
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise concerning debts that have not been paid during construct works. Between 1.5%-5% is deducted from payments and kept by the contract administrator or client. This is known as retention funds. Half of the funds will be released on the practical completion date and the second half after the defects liability and maintenance period.
We work closely with you to understand the nature of your debt collection issue, and provide strategies to maximises the successful recovery of your construction payments. This is particularly important, especially when the contractors and sub-contractors wish to continue their business relationship with the debtor.
Our direct access barristers and paralegals can help with asset investigations, drafting Retention Demand Letters, collecting evidence to lodge debt recovery claims, offer alternative dispute resolutions and arbitration and assist with drafting notices of adjudication.
In more contentious cases, we can also provide the best representation in court proceedings and instruct county bailiffs to recover the debts if necessary.
Don’t hesitate to contact one of our legal experts today for tactical advice, paralegal assistance and cost-effective payment plans on 0800 888 6760.
Given the increasing complexity of many construction projects, it isn’t uncommon to find yourself in the middle of contractual disputes, loss and expenses claims and defective work arguments among many more.
Disagreements over the scope of contractual terms, construction delays and contractor insolvency may result in unexpected costs and can have huge knock-on effects for the practical completion. Don’t feel like you have to go through this alone, we’re here to help.
If you believe your contractor, architect or structural engineer, or employer has breached their contractual duties, it’s important that you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Working nationwide, we offer direct access to barristers, with an all-inclusive paralegal support service to give you the help you need throughout your construction works case.
Your dispute may require alternative dispute resolution, arbitration and litigation that could result in unexpected and costly legal fees. However, our legal experts can offer you cost-effective payment solutions to minimise your legal fees upfront, so you can move forward.
We pride ourselves on tracking the success records of our construction barristers to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve and that your dispute is resolved quickly and efficiently.
Our construction specialists offer legal advice for a wide range of clients including, home owners, employers, contractors, suppliers and developers.
To find out how we can help, contact a member of our legal team today for direct access to barristers, paralegal assistance and affordable payment plans on 0800 888 6760.
We take into consideration your individual circumstances, to help you get the best possible outcome. If you have already appointed a barrister to your case, we can still offer you paralegal support and payment plan solutions. We will and will make all the necessary arrangements on your behalf, personally. Start your payment plan now to arrange your payment plan.