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Construction & Engineering Newsletter January 2014

Happy New Year! The BPE Construction & Engineering Team has decided to start 2014 by aiming to create a newsletter that breaks all the rules and contains information that people will actually want to read! As with the style of our advice to clients, we will get to the point quickly and provide practical information, rather than boring you with case law. In case this approach leaves you wondering if we really are solicitors after all, where there has been a genuinely newsworthy case since the last edition, the new look newsletter will contain one in depth article, alongside shorter snippets of information that you can read whilst sipping your detox fruit smoothie (or decent cup of builder's!).

What have we been up to?

Towards the end of last year we certainly saw an upturn in project work and we start 2014 with a positive feeling that the construction industry is finally starting to see an increase in activity.

On the project side:

  • We have been busy advising on procurement for a prestigious hotel/restaurant development in central Cheltenham.
  • We have been providing risk reviews for contractors, specialist sub-contractors and numerous Catapults (the government/Technology Strategy Board's vehicles for focussing R&D funding on particular projects such as cell therapy research and high value manufacturing).
  • Years of work advising in respect of the development of a new doctors' surgery in Tewkesbury are finally coming to a head.

Dispute work has also picked up and we have been advising on issues such as:

  • What happens when a Letter of Intent names one party as the Employer but the (intended) Main Contract names a different party? Who is liable to pay the Contractor?
  • What is a reasonably proportionate remedial response to the possible presence of asbestos in the ground following demolition on site?
  • What tactics should you adopt in defending a case brought by a litigant in person who wishes to amend their Particulars of Claim for the third time?

Unsurprisingly, as the economic recovery is only just starting, most of our clients are very alive to the idea of settling disputes in order to keep costs proportionate. Jon has been using his mediator training to help give clients really useful advice on how best to approach mediation to achieve the best possible result.

Unlike the weather, our contentious caseload in January 2014 has got off to a very "settled" start, with three major cases settled (at least in principle) in the first 6 working days of the year!

We have also had a new addition to the team with Steve Oakes joining us as a consultant. You can read more about Steve in the "My Perfect Sunday" article, which is to be a regular feature in our newsletter and is a nod to the team’s favourite film, Hot Fuzz.

 

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