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THE CONSTRUCTION ACT AND ADJUDICATION – AVOIDING THE PITFALLSTrevor DruryManaging DirectorMorecraft Drury020 7769 6781trevor.drury@morecraft-drury.com
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
How to avoid some of the traps that could result in you being party to an adjudicationIf you are considering launching an adjudication, or having to defend one, here are some of the pitfalls to avoid
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
PaymentSince the introduction of the Housing, Grants, Construction & Regeneration Act 1996 it has been a requirement for notices to be given by the payer of the amount due to the payee within 5 days of the payment due date.The changes brought about by the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 which came into effect in England and Wales in October 2011 has created some challenges!
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Paymentss109 Entitlement to instalments or stage paymentsParties are free to agree the amounts of payments and the intervals or circumstances in which they become dueIn the absence of such agreement the relevant provisions of the Scheme for Construction Contracts applies
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Paymentss110 states that every construction contract shall provide an adequate mechanism for determining what payments become due and whenMust provide for a final date for payments110A requires the payer or specified person to give a notice to the payee not later than 5 days after the payment due date ( contract can also require the payee to give a notice)
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
NoticesA compliant payment notice must specify the sum due or to have been due at the payment due date and the basis on which it has been calculatedA payment notice must be given even if the payment is assessed to be zeroIf the payer fails to issue a payment notice within 5 days of the due date, the payee may issue a notice under s110BIf an application for payment has already been issued as required by the contract, before the payer’s notice or payment certificate has been issued, there is no need to issue another notice.
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
PaymentJCT, NEC and other standard forms of contract and their related subcontracts set out the payment terms and what notices are required to comply with the HGCRAFailure to comply with those requirements exposes the defaulting party to the risk of adjudication proceedingsIt is obviously preferable that the contract is agreed before work commences so that there is no dispute concerning the payment termsWhere a contract has not been agreed and the payment terms have not been agreed, and the parties have not complied with the requirements of the HGCRA, the Scheme for Construction Contracts will be implied into the contract
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Payless noticess111 (3) payer’s notice of intention to pay less than the notified sumMust specify the sum that the payer considers to be due on the date the notice is servedMust state the basis on which the sum is calculatedMust be given not later than the prescribed period before the final date for payment. JCT is not later than 5 days and the default position under the Scheme is 7 days
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Failure to issue payment/payless notice – Interim PaymentsThe advent of the “smash and grab” adjudicationISG v Seevic Collegeno payment notice or payless noticeAdjudicator awarded circa £1.1m in favour of ISG, the amount claimed by ISGThe judge awarded summary judgement for ISG“if the employer fails to serve any notices in time it must be taken to be agreeing the value stated in the application, right or wrong.”
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Failure to issue Payment/payless noticesGalliford Try v EsturaConcerned IA 60 "Indicative Final Account and Valuation Summary“ for £12.66m, £5m greater than the contract sumNo payment or payless notice givenGalliford’s application was for circa £4m and the adjudicator awarded in fullAt summary judgement the judge, due to Estura’s inability to pay £4m, and that this was near the final account, considered that there would be no incentive on GT to complete the works and submit a final account. He awarded a stay of part of the amount and awarded £1.5m
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Failure to issue payment/payless notice – Final accountsHarding v PaiceFailure to issue a compliant payless notice in that it did not set out the basis of calculationAdjudicator awarded the contractor £398K plus VAT (3rdadjudication)Paice issued another 4thadjudication for the proper valuation of the final account.Harding sought an injunction to stop 4thadjudicationJudge dismissed application for injunction as the JCT IFC required payment of the “amount properly due to the contractor” but payment to be made of the decision in adjudication no.3
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
The timing of Applications for PaymentLeeds City Council v WacoThere are dates stipulated in the contract when applications for interim payment should be submittedApplications for payment will not be permitted outside of those datesIn the above case applications for payment were issued too earlyThere was a course of dealing where applications for payment were accepted 3-5 days late but not early!The message here is make sure you comply with the contract dates for submitting applications for interim payment
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
The Timing of Applications for paymentThis was also an issue in Henia v Beck as the application was issued 6 days late for April but did not qualify as an early May application.The CA issued an interim payment certificateThe Employer issued a payless notice valuing the certificate at zero for its claim for LD’s which the judge considered validThe fact that the CA had not provided a decision on an EOT did not prevent the Employer deducting LDs
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Payment Notices – Lessons learnedEnsure that you or the specified person issue the notice.Applications for interim payment must be unambiguous and communicate that it is an interim application, the due date it refers to, and set out the notified sumIssue within the time stipulated in the contract or SchemeEnsure that the notice sets out the basis of calculation
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
If you are the payee and an application for payment has not already been issued, make sure you issue a s110B noticeEnsure any payless notice is issued within time and again sets out the basis of calculationThe courts will treat interim applications differently to final accounts (Kilker Projects Ltd v Purton[2016] (14 October)An Employer can challenge a CA certificate by issuing a payless notice
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Payment Schedules – be careful!Due to the complex provisions of the HGCRA contracts, the parties often include a payment schedule setting out dates for submission of applications for payment, due dates, date for the issue of the payment notice, payless notice and final date for payment.This is good if it aids communication however; ensure that the schedule allows for project overruns ( Grove Developments v Balfour Beatty)Ensure that the correct dates are set out in the schedule. The courts will correct any obvious errors where there has been a departure from the regular monthly cycle ( Bouygues v Febrey Structures)
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Suspension – s112At least 7 days notice must be given of the intention to suspend performance stating the ground or grounds for suspensionThe right to suspend ceases on paymentin fullof the amount dueEnsure that the notice is not given prematurely and that the formalities required for the notice are complied withFailure to do so could result in a repudiatory breach of contract
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Settlement AgreementsSeparate agreement or a variation of the terms of the contract?Is it a construction contract in accordance with the HGCRA?J Murphy & Sons v W Mayer & SonsThe adjudication clauses in the sub-subcontract were considered broad enough to cover a dispute arising under the settlement agreementThe judge did however state that he would be sympathetic to an application for permission to appeal on the basis it would be helpful for an appellate decision on this important area.
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
If contemplating an adjudication the following points should be considered:Ensure that it is a construction contract within the meaning of the HGCRA and not excluded by those activities stated in s105 (2) which mainly concern mining, oil, gas and steelwork to provide access on power stations, water treatment and bulk storage of chemicals, oil, gas etc.Residential occupiers , unless their contract expressly provides for adjudication
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Further points to be consideredDisputes under more than one contractIt may be that part of the dispute does not arise under the contractIf there are 2 disputes, they cannot be referred to the same adjudication without permission of the responding partyEnsure that the correct nominating body is usedAn adjudicator has to be appointed within 5 days and it is the referring party’s responsibility to ensure that he is appointed in time
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Further points to be consideredThe referral notice must be served in writing to the adjudicator and the responding party, copy of the relevant parts of the contract and other documents relied uponAn adjudicator may, with the consent of both parties adjudicate more than one dispute under the same contractThe adjudicator may, with the parties consent, adjudicate at the same time, related disputes under different contracts
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
JurisdictionThe adjudicator’s jurisdiction to decide the dispute referred to him is often challenged by the responding party to prevent subsequent enforcement. If you are going to participate in an adjudication you must reserve your rights regarding any jurisdictional challenge, and repeat it at each subsequent submission. Potential reasons for a challenge:Not a “construction contract” as defined in the HGCRANot a partyDispute has not crystallisedMore than one dispute referredDispute does not arise under the contract
THE CONSTRUCTION ACT and ADJUDICATIONAVOIDING THE PITFALLS
Dispute is under multiple contracts or a side agreementDispute decided in a previous adjudicationErrors in the appointment of the adjudicatorLate service of referralLate decisionAnswering the wrong question
Thank You
Trevor DruryMBA, PG Dip Bar, PG Dip Law, PG Dip Project Management, FRICS, FCIOB, MCIArbManaging DirectorMorecraft Drurytrevor.drury@morecraft-drury.comCastlemead, Lower Castle Street, Bristol BS1 3AG0117 313 1515Central Court, 25 Southampton Buildings, London WC2A 1AL020 7769 6781

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PROJECT MANAGEMENT THE RISKS! - Morecraft Drury