UK Construction Act and its Amendments

If you conduct projects in the construction field you need to be up to speed with the Construction Act and understand the ramifications of contract law. A construction contract is a legally binding agreement which is made between two or more parties and failing to abide by contractual agreements can get construction businesses into nasty legal wrangles.

Amendments to UK Construction Act – 1 October 2011

The most recent Construction Act legislation was enacted in October 2011 in England and Wales and November 2011 in Scotland. These amendments provided a number of changes, many of which were designed to protect payments to sub-contractors. Some specific provisions of the Construction Act Amendments include:

  • prevention of delays in payments to sub-contractors

  • greater allowance for oral contracts

  • further prohibition on pay-when-paid clauses in contracts

  • enforcement of withholding notices

  • giving adjudicators the power to apportion fees

If you need assistance with contractual negotiations for construction or home improvement projects our professionals at Volarex Commercial Consultants can help you negotiate the minefield of the Construction Acts in the UK.

 Setting up Construction Contracts

 Some of the main criteria for a valid contract include:

  • offer

  • acceptance

  • consent

  • legality

  • performance expectations

The Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Acts 1996 sets out a number of criteria for construction contracts and these can be defined as agreements for construction works, agreements to sub-contract for construction operations under the umbrella of others and providing labour for the purposes of construction projects. Additional agreements need to be set in place for architectural, design or surveying works and professional advice on building, engineering or landscaping.

The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act of 2009 makes further provision and amendments to housing and construction acts already in place. This Act also covers a variety of oral contracts and payments to contractors and sub-contractors, so negotiations for any building project will need to have these issues in mind as a frame of reference. Construction and home improvement providers need to take account of both of these Acts as well as the Construction Act Amendments when handling contractual negotiations for projects.

It can be seen that contractual negotiations within the construction and home improvement fields can be very labour intensive and also prove to be a minefield for any contractor who is not fully aware of legal constraints in place in the UK. It’s not just a case of taking on a major construction or property improvement project and hoping for the best. Where you need to instruct sub-contract companies, workers and professionals you need to be fully aware of all the requirements you need to meet and those your contractor needs to meet with you. We can help you negotiate your contracts and ensure you comply with best UK practice in the construction and home improvements field.

Contact us for further information and advice.