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Expert Witness : Building and Property

Construction firms fined millions for health and safety offences since February 2016

Construction companies have been ordered to pay almost £8m in health and safety fines since new sentencing guidelines came into force earlier this year, according to BLM’s Health and Safety tracker.

In what was described as the most dramatic change to health and safety legislation in over forty years, new guidelines were imposed in February 2016 for health and safety, food hygiene and corporate manslaughter offences. The size of a business and its turnover are considerations for the court now in imposing these large fines. Large businesses with turnovers in excess of £50 million can face fines of up to £10 million for the most serious health and safety offences and corporate manslaughter fines could reach up to £20 million.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 July 2016 09:59


FMB welcomes court decision on affordable housing

The Appeal Court’s decision on 11 May to uphold a Government initiative to waive affordable housing requirements for small developments was hailed by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) as a boost for SMEs and housebuilding.

FMB chief executive Brian Berry commented: “Nearly one-in-two SME housebuilders know of sites they would otherwise be interested in developing, but which they believe would be unviable because of the likely combination of Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy charges. These contributions are prohibitive for many smaller developers, killing off thousands of otherwise viable schemes, and acting as a serious barrier to expansion.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 June 2016 09:39


Court case triggers new DHF call to check gates for safety

Powered gate owners are being urged to have their gates checked for safety after a court heard how a defective works gate collapsed and seriously injured an employee.

The advice has been issued by the Door & Hardware Federation, whose Powered Gate Group represents the leading manufacturers, suppliers, installers and maintainers of powered automatic gates and gate automation equipment.

A court heard that a leaf of the telescopic gate came out of its runners and collapsed on the man. As a result of the accident in Caerphilly the man was hospitalised for ten days and was off work for a year.


Last Updated on Friday, 26 February 2016 09:54


The alternative to litigation is cost-effective

Your Expert Witness RICS logoThe construction industry has been at the forefront of resolving disputes by way of so-called alternative dispute resolution. These alternatives to litigation have been encouraged by the courts and the government and, indeed, many construction contracts provide for disputes to be dealt with by mediation, adjudication or arbitration – often, according to a guide to process by the College of Estate Management, a combination of all three.

The largest provider of alternative dispute resolution services to the property and construction industries is that operated by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. The RICS Dispute Resolution Service appoints around 10,000 dispute resolvers per year.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 February 2016 16:41


Adjudication may not help those who fail to follow statutory payment regime

The case of ISG Construction Ltd v Seevic College[1]  (the 'Seevic case') has provided helpful guidance on the court’s approach to disputes involving payment notices under the statutory payment regime introduced by the Construction Act[2]  and Part I of the Scheme[3] relating to payment. In particular the court made clear its reluctance to allow a party to use adjudication on a technicality to circumvent the payment provisions and reinforced the need to comply with the appropriate contractual or statutory payment and pay less notice provisions.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 August 2015 09:24