The Court of Appeal recently considered whether milestone payments in a construction contract constituted an adequate mechanism for payment in terms of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, as amended. The decision is a helpful reminder that where standard payment terms are replaced by bespoke amendments as to stage or milestone payments, it is imperative to ensure that they are properly drafted.
A court recently considered the entirety of a building material supplier's actions – including its refusal to sign a draft deed and assertions that its terms were unacceptable – and deemed it impossible to see the conduct as an agreement of the totality of the draft deed's terms. The court further held that the main contractor's conduct had not amounted to an agreement to abandon some terms of the draft deed while accepting that the others had contractual effect.
The Technology and Construction Solicitors' Association recently launched a low-value disputes (LVDs) adjudication service, which is being run on a pilot basis until November 2019. The LVDs service aims to give parties that wish to refer disputes for fixed amounts of up to £100,000 (excluding value added tax and interest) to adjudication greater certainty as to the costs involved.
The continuing development of robotics and AI is a potential game changer for the construction industry and may help to resolve (or at least improve) skills shortages and poor productivity rates. However, this technological future will also bring new risk profiles to construction contracts and additional contractual provisions to deal with matters such as IP rights, data protection, confidentiality, health and safety and cyber risk. Perhaps the real question is how this technology will develop and what its impact will be onsite.
In light of the discussion and hype surrounding artificial intelligence (AI), this article considers AI and construction law in the context of risk and contract management, as well as a number of existing technologies which could assist in this respect. With greater collaboration between lawyers and clients, AI can bring greater efficiencies and efficacies to contract generation, review, analysis and management processes.