January 24, 2019

Another smash and grab as worker wrecks new hotel over pay dispute

News Article

Another construction worker has made headlines after demolishing the front of a newly refurbished hotel, amidst claims that he has not been paid.

The irate builder, who has so far not been named, drove a digger truck into the front of the newly built Travelodge hotel in Liverpool, causing significant structural damage to the entrance and reception area.

The demolition echoes an incident we reported on last year, when a contractor who claimed he had not been paid for the work he had done on a residential development, decided to take the law into his own hands by demolishing five newly built homes with a digger.

The damage to the homes in Hertfordshire – which had all been sold subject to contract and had been nearing completion – was estimated to be worth around £4million. Police arrested 30-year-old Daniel Neagu, who was subsequently charged with causing criminal damage.

The latest incident in Liverpool is also believed to have arisen following a dispute over non-payment for construction work at the hotel.

A witness, who is understood to also be a co-worker, told the BBC that the digger driver was involved in a £600 pay dispute.

The destruction lasted around 20 to 30 minutes, before the driver left the vehicle and ran off.

Adam Davis, a Partner with Palmers who specialises in Construction disputes, said: “Although the two construction workers who decided to take the law into their own hands clearly felt aggrieved, damaging property is a serious criminal offence and they stand to lose far more than the wages they are owed.

“The general advice – for any parties involved in a dispute over unpaid money – is not to take the law into your own hands but to consider using adjudication as a means of resolving disputes.

“It is fundamental, at the outset, for businesses to have in place a dispute strategy and also ensure that its resources are properly channelled to obtain a quick resolution.

“This includes the selection of experienced representatives and experts for the adjudication, who will be responsive and keen for matters to be resolved proactively, as quickly as possible and with an agile and commercial approach.

“A phone call to obtain appropriate expert advice at the outset of any payment dispute costs nothing, in comparison to the cost of resolving an escalated dispute, as well as avoiding the occurrence of such incidents where contractors take the law in their own hands.”

For advice on all aspects of construction contracts including payment disputes and the adjudication process, please contact our Construction Specialist.