Category: Articles and Publications

1
COVID-19: UK Coronavirus Act 2020 – Implications for the Construction Industry
2
COVID-19: UK Public Sector Construction – Cash Flow Relief for Suppliers
3
‘Fitness for Purpose’ and Conflicting Obligations in Offshore Wind Projects
4
COVID-19: Coronavirus Concerns Prompt Two-Week Halt to All Construction in Boston
5
K&L Gates Recognized Among Top Five Construction Law Firms by Construction Executive
6
The Tenth Circuit’s Prediction: New York State Likely to Follow Trend Recognizing Damages Caused by Subcontractor’s Faulty Work is a Covered “Occurrence”
7
A New (Sort of) Class Action in Protection of European Consumers
8
Preparing for the Changes in the New AIA 2017 Forms
9
Third party funding of arbitration in Hong Kong is given the green light
10
Return of arbitration to road construction disputes in Poland

COVID-19: UK Coronavirus Act 2020 – Implications for the Construction Industry

 Authors: Inga K. Hall, Saya Lee

The 359-page emergency Coronavirus Bill received royal assent on 25 March 2020. This newly passed Coronavirus Act 2020 (the “Act”) contains extensive powers and additional measures to equip the UK government and other authorities to better respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK. The new Act is time-limited to two years by a sunset clause (Section 89) and will be subject to six-month parliamentary reviews (Section 98)

The Act is primarily aimed at easing the burden on the frontline staff working for ‘essential services’ including the NHS, schools, police and courts, as well as providing measures for containing and slowing the spread of the virus and supporting businesses and workers. Although there are no sections in the Act specifically addressing the construction industry, the wide-ranging powers that are granted to the authorities to enable such actions and outcomes also have the potential to have an impact on the construction industry as summarised below.

For the full alert, please click here.

COVID-19: UK Public Sector Construction – Cash Flow Relief for Suppliers

 Authors: Daniel T. Lopez de ArroyabeInga K. HallKevin Greene

The impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry has been the subject of much debate this week, as discussed in our blog article “COVID-19 Construction Industry – Operating in a Pandemic”, with businesses split over whether or not to shut down operations in order to protect the health and safety of those working on construction sites. The division has been exacerbated by the lack of a clear Government directive either way, meaning that it has – for the time being at least – been left in the hands of individual companies to decide whether or not to stop work.

While that issue continues to divide opinion, what is clear is that the pandemic and the fall-out from it will place an unprecedented strain on supply chains, and one of the main challenges currently faced by the industry is how to maintain cash flow so that businesses are able to survive and continue working once we emerge through the other side. In this regard the Government has taken steps to provide further clarity and guidance, with the publication on 20 March of Procurement Policy Note – Supplier relief due to COVID-19 PPN 02/20 (“PPN02/20”).

Taking immediate effect until 30 June 2020, PPN02/20 applies to all contracting authorities (including central government departments, executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies, local authorities and NHS bodies) and covers goods, services and works contracts being delivered in the UK.

To read the full alert, please click here.

‘Fitness for Purpose’ and Conflicting Obligations in Offshore Wind Projects

By Charles Lockwood and Owen Chio

Two recent cases in the UK illustrate the tricky issues Employers and Contractors have to grapple with in defining the responsibilities of contractors involved in the construction of offshore wind projects.

There are no established standard form contracts for offshore wind farm projects. The standard forms that are often adapted for this purpose include traditional offshore forms used in the oil and gas industry such as the LOGIC forms and standard engineering contracts more commonly used for onshore projects such as FIDIC, particularly the FIDIC Yellow Book.

Neither form is ideally suited for use in the offshore wind industry and they are often heavily amended, particularly in relation to design obligations. The cases summarized below illustrate some of the tensions that can arise, particularly in relation to design and fabrication of monopiles and transition pieces and requirements that they should be fit for their intended purpose.

To read the full alert, please click here.



COVID-19: Coronavirus Concerns Prompt Two-Week Halt to All Construction in Boston

 Authors: Steven P. WrightJohn L. Gavin

Another industry felt the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on Monday, March 16, when, amid growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced a two-week halt to all construction projects in the City of Boston. Boston’s construction ban went into effect on Tuesday, March 17, and will last at least two weeks. Although the implementation of COVID-19 prevention measures has increased across the nation in recent days, Boston’s construction ban is the first of its kind in the United States. This alert discusses the impacts of the construction ban, as well as the broader implications of the ban in Boston and for the rest of the nation.

To read the full alert, please click here.

For more information and resources on COVID-19, please click here.

K&L Gates Recognized Among Top Five Construction Law Firms by Construction Executive

Washington, D.C. – Construction news outlet Construction Executive has recognized K&L Gates LLP among the top five firms in the publication’s inaugural rankings of the 50 leading law firms throughout the United States with dedicated construction practices. With nearly 150 lawyers in its construction practice, K&L Gates also ranks first among included firms by number of construction lawyers.

Read More

The Tenth Circuit’s Prediction: New York State Likely to Follow Trend Recognizing Damages Caused by Subcontractor’s Faulty Work is a Covered “Occurrence”

By Frederic J. Giordano, Stephanie S. Gomez                     

The United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit recently issued a favorable decision for policyholders finding property damage arising from a subcontractor’s faulty work arose from an accidental “occurrence” under New York law.  In Black & Veatch Corp. v. Aspen Ins. (UK) Ltd,[1] a 2–1 Tenth Circuit panel agreed with Black & Veatch Corp. (“B&V”) that its excess policy — which contained a New York choice-of-law provision — covered claims for property damage to a third party caused by its subcontractor’s faulty work.[2]  The Tenth Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling that B&V’s subcontractor’s faulty work caused damage to only B&V’s own work and, therefore, was not a covered “occurrence.”[3]  The Tenth Circuit concluded the New York Court of Appeals would likely find the subcontractor’s faulty work was an accidental “occurrence,” following the growing trend of other state high courts that have addressed this coverage issue under commercial general liability (“CGL”) polices.[4]  Policyholders — whose policies are governed by New York law — should take notice and consider the implications of this decision on whether New York will soon join the majority view that faulty workmanship by a subcontractor can be an occurrence under CGL policies.

Read More

A New (Sort of) Class Action in Protection of European Consumers

By Ignasi Guardans

Background
The European Commission (“Commission”) presented this initiative in the context of a proposed revision of the EU framework on consumer protection. The “Package” (as the name goes when several independent legal texts are intended to be negotiated together)  called “New Deal for Consumers,” builds on the Commission review of consumer law rules that was conducted as part of the so called Regulatory Fitness and Performance Program (REFIT). This is a policy program intended to keep EU law simple, removing unnecessary burdens and adapting existing legislation without compromising on policy objectives.

Read More

Preparing for the Changes in the New AIA 2017 Forms

By: Justin L. Weisberg

After a decade, the AIA  released new design and construction contract forms in April 2017.  Some of the more notable changes to the AIA construction contract documents are summarized below.

Probably as a reflection of advancements in the use of technology in the design and construction industry, the construction forms now default to the E203-2013 Document titled Building Information Modeling and Digital Data Exhibit. The E203-2013, which is identified in the AIA construction agreement forms as a Contract Document, requires the parties to create a digital data protocol and, if building information modeling (“BIM”) is to be used, to create a BIM modeling protocol.  The A-201 requires the parties to agree on the Protocols set forth in the E203-2013 for the use, transmission and exchange of digital data.  The E203-2013 references two protocol forms, the G-201-2013 Project Digital Data Protocol Form and the G-202-2013 Project Building Information Modeling Protocol Form.  Any reliance by the Owner  or Contractor  upon digital data or a building information model without the completion and incorporation of the E203-2013 is at the relying party’s sole risk.

Another new Exhibit, which may be referenced in the construction contract, is the E204 -2017, the Sustainable Projects Exhibit. This E-204 – 2017 sets forth the obligations and terms between the Owner, Architect, and Contractor  for a project that seeks a sustainable objective or third-party certification of a sustainable objective or energy or environmental performance such as LEED®.

The A-201 now provides for direct communications between the Owner and the Contractor. While with the past forms all communications with the Contractor were supposed to go through the Architect, under the A201-2017, the Owner and Contractor can communicate directly, although the Architect is to be included in all communications that relate to or affect the Architect’s services or responsibilities.

The method of calculation for progress payments has been revised. For example, the calculation of progress payments on the AIA A-102 Cost Plus with a GMP  contract now incorporates the allocation of contingencies under the GMP requiring any contingency for costs to be allocated in the schedule of values.  The progress payment calculation under the AIA A-102 is as follows: the Contractor first provides evidence that the costs it has incurred exceed the progress payments previously received plus the current payroll minus the Contractor’s fee.  Assuming the costs plus Contractor’s Fee exceed the progress payments and payroll, the actual amount approved is calculated as: a) the percentage of work completed under the GMP; b) with the addition of amounts from any equipment delivered and suitably stored at the site; plus c) the portion of Construction Change Directives that the Architect believes to be reasonably justified; and  d) the Contractor’s Fee.  The amount calculated is then reduced by: a) the previously paid amounts; b) any amounts for uncorrected defective work; c) any amounts that a Contractor does not intend to pay a subcontractor or supplier; and d) any amounts that the Architect is authorized to refuse to certify under the General Conditions.

The list of amounts that the Architect is authorized to refuse to certify under the General Conditions remains unchanged and includes: 1) defective work; 2) third-party claims; 3) failure to pay subcontractors or suppliers; 4) reasonable evidence that the contract cannot be completed for the unpaid contract balance; 5) damage to the Owner; 6) reasonable evidence that the Contractor will not finish on time and that the remaining unpaid balance is not sufficient to pay the actual and liquidated damages; and 7) evidence of repeated failure to carry out the Work in accordance with the Contract documents. Of course, the final listed item of reduction for progress payments in the A-102 is retainage.

A major change to the construction forms includes removal of a number of insurance provisions in the A-201 and the placement of most of the insurance requirements into a new A101 – 2017 Exhibit A Insurance and Bonds form. Exhibit A is incorporated into the A101-2017, A102-2017, and A103-2017 construction contract forms.  The new insurance exhibit incorporates many of the insurance provisions previously included in the A201-2007, although the A101-2017 Exhibit A also has new insurance requirements including specifically identified additional ISO insurance forms.

The Insurance Exhibit A now specifically requires additional insurance endorsement ISO forms CG 20 10 07 04, CG 20 37 07 04, and with respect to the Architect CG 20 32 07 04. It should be noted, that unlike the previous CG 20 10 11 85 endorsement, which covered ongoing and completed operations in a single form “for liability arising out of ʻyour work’ for that insured by or for you,” the CG 20 10 07 04 form only covers liability “caused in whole or part by: 1. Your acts or omissions; or 2. The acts or omissions of those acting on your behalf in the performance of your ongoing operations for the additional insured(s). . ..”  The CG 20 37 07 04 form only covers liability “caused in whole or part by “your work” . . . “performed for that additional insured and included in the products completed operations hazard.”  Given the limitations stated in the specified forms as compared to forms such as the CG 20 10 11 85 form, or the more recent CG 20 10 10 01 and CG 20 37 10 01 forms, parties that are beginning to use the newly required forms for the first time should consult with their attorneys and brokers to determine whether they are in compliance with these new insurance requirements.  The parties should also consult with their attorneys to determine whether under the laws applicable to the project, the required forms have minimized exposure to any potential uncovered indemnity claims and are not precluded by any statutory restrictions.

The Insurance Exhibit A requires the Owner to obtain the Builders Risk Insurance but allows the obligation to be shifted to the Contractor. The Insurance Exhibit A also provides for the parties to elect from a menu of coverages including, for example, pollution coverage, professional liability coverage, manned and unmanned aircraft coverage, and cyber security insurance.

The right to request financial information during the project has been supplemented to allow the Contractor to request financial information if the Owner fails to make payments, or if the Contractor identifies a reasonable concern regarding the Owners ability to make payment. The Owner can now also identify any such information provided as confidential and require the Contractor to maintain the confidentiality of the designated information.

Under the cost plus forms, the method in which subcontractors are selected has been changed. Rather than the Owner with the advice of the Contractor and Architect determining which subcontractors are selected after submitting bids, the Contractor now selects the subcontractors subject to the Owner’s right to object.

An additional obligation now placed upon the Contractor under the A-201 requires the Contractor to defend and indemnify the Owner from subcontractor and supplier lien claims as long as the Owner has fulfilled its payment obligations to the Contractor.

If the Contractor terminates the Contract for cause it is now entitled to reasonable overhead and profit on Work not executed. If the Owner terminates the Contract for convenience, the Contractor is now entitled to a termination fee to be set forth in the Agreement, rather than reasonable overhead and profit on Work not executed.

In conclusion, given the amount of time that has passed since 2007 when the former AIA construction forms were updated, the extent of revisions in 2017 cannot be described as sweeping changes from the prior versions. However, as noted in the summary above, there have been some significant modifications in the new forms that contractors and owners need to consider when negotiating projects in the future with the new 2017 AIA construction forms.

 

Third party funding of arbitration in Hong Kong is given the green light

By Christopher Tung, Sacha Cheong and Dominic Lau, K&L Gates, Hong Kong

On 14 June 2017, the Legislative Council of Hong Kong passed the Arbitration and Mediation Legislation (Third Party Funding) (Amendment) Bill 2016.

The Bill comes on the heels of the consultation paper issued in October 2015 by the Law Reform Commission’s Third Party Funding for Arbitration Sub-committee and closely follows the recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission in its Report dated 12 October 2016 to clarify the law concerning third party funding of arbitration and associated proceedings under the Arbitration Ordinance. (For more information about the report and the LRC’s recommendations, see our article in the May 2017 issue of Arbitration World.

Read More

Return of arbitration to road construction disputes in Poland

By Łukasz Gembiś, K&L Gates, Warsaw

In February 2017, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Construction announced the introduction of the “New standards in road construction” aimed primarily at regulating the balanced division of risks in roads construction contracts. Among many changes that have been made to the new model of public procurement contracts in road construction, special attention should be paid to returning – after many years of absence – arbitration as the preferred method of settling disputes between public investors and general contractors in Poland.

Read More

Copyright © 2019, K&L Gates LLP. All Rights Reserved.