Welcome to the October 2021 issue of our Construct newsletter.

In wider news affecting the construction industry, Michael Gove has recently been appointed housing secretary in a cabinet reshuffle. Mr Gove’s brief will be to push the Government’s “levelling up” agenda, which includes planning reform and the building safety bill. The latter will be in sharp focus now that the Grenfell Tower inquiry has resumed. The move is also a plus for the Ministry of Housing’s Christmas party given Mr Gove’s recent antics in a Scottish nightclub.

The industry continues to be hampered by logistics and supply troubles. The Mineral Products Association is proposing a temporary relaxation on restrictons placed on foreign lorry drivers, with a view to easing recruitment issues. Materials are also in short supply, with some merchants quoting 26-week lead times for bricks. Again, this is blamed on haulage issues rather than actual supply.

Locally, an £11m project to restore Norwich Castle is underway. The work includes making all areas of the building accessible for visitors.

This issue of Construct features a fantastically diverse range of articles. Graham Mead writes about Triple Point v PTT [2021] UKSC 29 in which the Supreme Court gave a typically clear and practical judgment on the purpose and operation of liquidated damages clauses.

We also have the latest article in a series about avoiding disputes from Michael Booth. In this instalment, Michael discusses issues to spot during the performance of a contract.

Finally, Liam Hendry provides a “bonus” episode of his recent series on collateral warranties, discussing the decision in Toppan Holdings v Simply Construct [2021] EWHC 2110. In Toppan, the court revisited the issue of when a collateral warranty is a construction contract for the purpose of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (as amended).

We hope that you enjoy this edition of Construct. If you are affected by or have questions in relation to the issues discussed within, please contact the writer (whose details will be on the article) or your usual Prettys contact.

Peter Blake
Graham Mead
Michael Booth
Liam Hendry
Legal Assistant