Welcome to the November 2021 issue of our Construct newsletter. As always, we start with a roundup of industry news.

The recent trend of a shortage of resources continues to plight the construction industry: according to the Office for National Statistics, there were some 43,000 unfilled vacancies in the industry between July and September 2021.

The government also looks set to continue planned changes to end the tax rebate on red diesel for construction companies, with the change coming into effect from April 2022. Some industry bodies are advocating for a tax rebate to be applied to green fuels to lessen the impact of the price rise on diesel and accelerate progress on reducing carbon emissions.

Construction output is now 1.5% lower than its pre-March 2020 levels, which is partly blamed on previously-mentioned labour shortages and rising material and energy prices.

In a bid to broaden its talent pool, Multiplex is now offering employees a four-day working week. The firm said that it hopes the move will attract female staff and enable employees to better meet any caring obligations.

Finally, NMCN has entered into administration. Eagle-eyed construction law aficionados will note that NMNC was formerly named North Midland Construction, and one of its subsidiaries was a party to an important case which addressed concurrent delay.

This edition of Construct includes articles on a range of topical issues. Firstly, we address whether an adjudication decision in favour of an insolvent company can be enforced, by reference to John Doyle Construction Ltd v Erith Contractors Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 1452.

We have also written about the application of economic duress in construction following a recent Supreme Court case, using fictional parties and projects to illustrate the relevant principles.

Lastly, we summarise Quadro Services Ltd v Creagh Concrete Products Ltd [2021] EWHC 2859 (TCC), where the court considered whether a dispute concerning multiple unpaid invoices was a single “dispute” for the purpose of referring to adjudication.

We hope that you enjoy this issue of Construct. If you are affected by or would like to discuss any of the issues contained within, please contact the writer of the article or your usual contact within the team.

Peter Blake
Liam Hendry
Legal Assistant