Click here to read our latest news and articles addressing the impact COVID-19 is having on the construction industry

Housing Association providing affordable accommodation in London

Facts

Client: Housing Association

Region: UK

Industry: Construction

Issues

The client entered into a PPC 2000 partnering contract with its contractor and the professional team. Disputes arose with the contractor over its final account claims and the interpretation of, and interrelationship between, the contract documents.

Notwithstanding the partnering ethos and anticipated collaborative approach espoused in the contract, the contractor adopted a relentlessly hostile stance, resulting in a series of adjudications, in all of which our client, not the contractor, was ultimately successful.

Solutions

The first adjudication instigated by the contractor against our client was already under way by the time we were initially instructed. The most immediate and urgent task was therefore to analyse and evaluate the relevant documents, including the PPC 2000 contract documents, some of which had been amended.

We worked with the client, the project architect and the project quantity surveyors in the preparation of the client’s Response to the Referral Notice and then represented the client in the remaining stages of that and then the subsequent adjudications. This included attending meetings with the adjudicator as the client’s representative when defending the contractor’s claims for extensions of time, prolongation costs and its final account.

The adjudications were all successful for our client, who ultimately settled the outstanding issues with the contractor some months later.

Benefits

The client had believed that because they had entered into a PPC 2000 partnering agreement, there would be no significant disputes on the project and, even if there were, they would then be swiftly and amicably resolved. They were completely unprepared for the aggressive and hostile approach taken by their main contractor. By the time the case had settled, the client understood the risks as well as the benefits of PPC 2000. The client also understood the risks involved in making amendments to otherwise standard documents.

The work involved in preparing the client’s submissions in the various adjudications against it highlighted shortcomings in the performance of one of the project construction professionals. This in turn made the client more aware of where the professional team can make fundamental mistakes with potentially far-reaching financial consequences. The client will be far more alert in all its dealings in the future.

The adjudications were successful for the client as a result of the detailed investigations undertaken into the various arguments, with the necessary supporting evidence, some documentary and some from witnesses of fact. The client emerged from the adjudications in a far stronger position than they had anticipated and was ultimately able to settle the outstanding issues with the contractor without further dispute resolution proceedings being necessary.