Case Studies

M&E Subcontract - New Football Stadium

This dispute involved a legal argument over which programme or programmes applied to the project long after it had been completed. The parties executed the sub-contract oddly some three months after the works had reached practical completion, including a programme, which defined the period for completion and the basis for which the works would be completed. It was alleged by the claimant that this contract document should be disregarded and that actual events alleged to have occurred in the claimant's own programmes should take precedence based on intention and what they considered common sense. The implications were that if the claimant's programmes applied there was a case for disruption and delay, extension of time entitlement plus losses and expenses, these were valued at approximately £805,000 and would be claimed in a future Adjudication. The claimants were resisted on the grounds that firstly they had signed the contract, thus agreed to the Main Contractor programme, secondly this signing has retrospective effect, thirdly the main contract completed on time and fourthly the claimants had not taken heed of the clauses they had signed up to which included a condition precedent for the service of notices for extensions of time, which were all absent. The signing of the contract thus precluded any claim and the claim failed. This ended the pursuit of claim, indeed gave rise to a counterclaim, which was never prosecuted. The final account was eventually resolved, whether a sum was paid is unknown.

M&E Subcontract - New Offices

Value: £121,000Following completion of an Air Conditioning system, it was apparent that the client was experiencing difficulties with the installation. The Sub-contractor failed to remedy problems and demanded his retention. The Main Contractor employed others to produce an expert opinion, corrective design and rectify the failure in that design. The Main Contractor sued in court for the repair work as damages for breach of contract, Sub-contractor sued for the retention held. Following an investigation, it was clear through all the evidence that there had been a failure in design. The design was Sub-contractor’s responsibility and this fact was the overriding consideration in determining SC's liability. There followed a complex Adjudication setting out the claims of the Main Contractor in a high burden of proof case of damages for breach of contract. It was proved that the Sub-contractor was liable for damages and the quantum was proved in the expenditure by Main Contractor in altering the air conditioning system to the required level of design. Sub-contractor had previously commenced legal action for £13,000 for retention, this was offset against the award and the parties dispensed with the court proceedings. The client was very pleased with the outcome of £98,000 being awarded in damages for breach of contract.

Cladding and Roof Subcontract - Agricultural Building

Value: £25,000The Contract had few terms and thus was dominated by the terms of the Scheme for Construction Contracts (Regulations) 1998. The Sub-contractor's solicitors were unaware of Adjudication, failed to collect the debt, thus the account was almost written off. Work had been completed three years previous to Adjudication, during which time the respondents had written two letters in response to the final account. These letters did not address any of the issues. The respondents incorrectly believed that if they did not respond there would be no dispute. Subsequently there were jurisdictional claims for "no dispute" and amusingly "ambush", all of which were rejected. The claim resulted in £14,000 being awarded.

Adjudication - New Housing Development

Value: £54,000Following an unsuccessful attempt to resolve a final account, Adjudication proceedings were commenced to obtain payment of £24,000 from the Main Contractor. A classic case of "subbie bashing", a defective site investigation failed to appreciate the clear abnormal amounts of groundwork generated by a 1.0 to 1.2m deep depth of topsoil. The main contract had been agreed under design and build terms and the sub-contract was on re-measurement terms, a classic path to dispute. In this case a dispute arose on payment when works were 80 - 90% complete. This resulted in the groundwork contractor withdrawing from site making the dispute more polarised. The 45% success achieved thus was seen as a success by our Client.

Defending the Employer against M&E contractor - New Retail Store and Offices

Value: Circa £146,000In this case the Employer self-managed the works using trade contractors, however a dispute with the M&E contractor arose. There were some 100 complex disputed items, which comprised Loss and Expense, variations, inadequate design, defective and incomplete works. The Contractor issued Adjudication proceedings for the claim for £146,000 plus interest and VAT and the terms of the Scheme for Construction Contracts (Regulations) 1998 applied. The proceedings included an Adjudicator's site meeting, witnesses and experts. The Adjudicator generally dismissed most of the Contractor's claims and found in favour of the Employer's counterclaims. Due to procedural irregularities, the Adjudicator ruled he had no jurisdiction to rule on part of the air conditioning dispute worth £80,000. In other words, the Employer had the right to have this second dispute heard in a second Adjudication (which he chose not to embark on). Had the air conditioning been fully judged a repayment could easily have been due to the Employer. The dispute resulted in £60,000 being awarded.

Adjudication – Defending the Main Contractor against joinery Subcontractor - New Hotel

Value: Circa £67,000This defence against a specialist joinery sub-contractor involved calculations and pleas that this was a spurious and over-priced Claim. There were Extensions of Time and Loss and Expense elements in addition to variations in dispute. The Extensions of Time Claim might have seemed reasonable, except this sub-contractor was working direct for the Employer on some major items on the same site adding up to much of the extra time claimed. The Adjudicator was persuaded to greatly reduce this claim to a more reasonable level of valuation for the work, thus the Claim resulted in £23,000 being awarded, seen as a success by the Client.

Advocate for Claimant (Supplier) against Main Contractor

Value: £150,000 plus costsArbicon acted for the supplier of construction materials on a major civil engineering electrical overhead line project, the Main Contractor refused to pay as damages were alleged arising from late delivery. The case included a preliminary hearing, a hearing on preliminary issues, protracted exchanges of pleadings, witness statements and a final trial hearing. Part way through the final hearing, one of the defendant's witnesses in cross examination revealed that the Client had admitted liability to the delay concerned and had paid a claim made by the Main Contractor, thus the case collapsed and an award was made in full to our Client.

Joint Expert Report - Home Owners Claim, Floor Tiling Dispute

Arbicon were instructed as Joint Expert to prepare an Expert Report on behalf of the Court on the standard of floor tiling work completed and the cost of any remedial works required. The works were found to be of a reasonable standard with minor defects. The Joint Report was submitted to the County Court for Judgement.

Expert Reports - Housing Developments

Arbicon were appointed by the defendants in this very complex case regarding numerous housing developments to provide the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) with a view on the value of building works and development costs amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds. Work involved dealing with Court Case Management, writing of 8 expert reports, expert meetings, completion of Final Reports and trial preparation. The case was settled part way through the trial.