The judgment in GB Building Solutions Limited (in administration) –and– SFS Fire Services Limited (t/a Central Fire Protection)  EWHC 1289 (TCC) illustrates yet again the importance of clearly defining terms and, in particular, critical dates in construction contracts. This is one in a series of recent cases in which the TCC judges have re-affirmed their strict approach to contract interpretation.
It is not unusual for property buyers in the UK to find a reference to ground instability in the report on title prepared by their solicitor. Clay-rich soils, on which many UK cities and towns are founded, are prone to shrinking and swelling with changes in moisture content. This may cause significant structural damage to buildings and costs insurers hundreds of millions of pounds a year. Property owners are advised not to allow the ground to become too dry or too wet and not to plant or remove trees in the vicinity of their properties.
Despite introducing annual taxes to deter homes being purchased by companies, it has been revealed that in 2015/16, around 5,720 residential property owners continue to pay Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) rather than register the home in their own name.
It has been five months since the publication of the JCT Design and Build Contract 2016 (the “JCT DB 2016”).
Many of the amendments to the 2011 edition are form over substance with the objective being to make the JCT DB 2016 more user-friendly by using clearer and more consolidated drafting. There are also more options for users, such as provision for a performance bond, parent company guarantee and sub-contractor third party rights.
As London property prices continue to climb, home owners and developers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to extract additional value from every square foot. The traditionally favoured methods have been to extend out, or upwards, and statistics show such developments are still booming. In March 2015, City A.M reported that there were over 250 towers of 20-storeys or more going through the planning approval process in London. However, the latest trend in some of London’s most affluent neighbourhoods – where space is at a premium and both practical and planning hurdles prevent major development above – is going underground.