March 17, 2017

Delays in construction of new court building lead to legal action

News Article

If you are going to incur delays on a construction project, the last institution you’d want to upset is the Technology and Construction Court (TCC).

Ironically this is exactly what happened to one unfortunate firm which breached deadlines for the construction of new court buildings shared by the TCC, which is a sub division of the Queen’s Bench Division and deals with legal disputes involving the construction industry.

In the case of Carillion Construction Ltd v Emcor Engineering Services Ltd & Anr, which went to appeal, Carillion had blamed Emcor for part of the 182-day delay in the construction of ‘The Rolls’ court buildings where the TCC, along with the Commercial Court and Chancery Division are based.

Emcor, which had been sub-contracted by Carillion, were required to fit-out two court buildings as part of the construction work.

Unfortunately delays occurred. Carillion did not achieve practical completion under the main contract until 29th July 2011 which was 182 days late. Carillion blamed its sub-contractors for causing delays. The sub-contractors blamed each other and Carillion for causing delays and litigation followed.

Following a lengthy legal battle, the Court of Appeal, led by Lord Justice Jackson, upheld the original court decision and ruled on the side of Emcor.

Adam Davis, a partner with Palmers and Head of the firm’s Construction and Engineering Legal Department, said: “This lengthy court battle, regarding the legalities of work extensions, delay clauses and who should incur financial penalties has finally resulted in a significant victory for Emcor.

“This protracted legal case, which has undoubtedly cost both parties dearly, underlines the importance of ensuring that all contracts relating to completion dates are clear and legally watertight from the outset.”

At Palmers we are able to provide specialist legal advice on construction and engineering contract agreements. To find out more, please contact us.