Construction Client Ordered To Pay Despite Contractor Causing Delays

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The High Court case of Walter Lilly & Co Ltd v Mackay was decided this month with judgment in favour of the contractor for over £2,000,000 and is a cautionary tale for clients entering into standard form building contracts.

The contract was to build some exclusive houses ibn London and was made in a basic building contract format using one of the JCT suite of standard form contracts. The form of contract used did not make design the contractor’s responsibility. When delays arose from design mistakes it had made the customer could not rely on the resulting delays to fend off the contractor’s claim to be paid in full with interest and damages for claims by its sub-contractors.

JCT contracts are very useful documents but only if the client chooses the right one. Although they are printed in standard form there are well-established ways of modifying the terms of a JCT contract to get the right contract for the project. Specialist advice on which form of contract to use and how to join up the different contracts involved in a project is essential given the potential costs of getting it wrong not only in terms of delays but also insurance arrangements and responsibility for site safety at different stages in a project.

Forbes can assist with selecting and modifying building contracts and also enforcing them if things don’t go to plan.

For advice on contracts contact Daniel Milnes or Tim Hollingsworth and for construction disputes Robin Stephens.

Daniel Milnes

About Daniel Milnes

Dan is a Partner and Head of Contracts & Projects. Dan’s blogs cover the areas in which his specialities lie in commercial, regulatory and governance law which cover a broad range of matters dealing with contracts, projects, corporate and group structures, funding and compliance with a range of legal regimes including data protection. This also involves writing and advising on various forms of commercial contracts including joint ventures, development and construction agreements and intellectual property contracts including IT agreements, sponsorships and other rights licensing arrangements.
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