Balfour Beatty wins contract dispute over construction delays
Balfour Beatty has won a contract dispute over delays on a construction project.
The issue arose after Balfour was engaged by MW High Tech Projects UK Ltd to carry out mechanical and electrical services in relation to the construction of a new laboratory building.
The contract was in the form of the JCT Design and Build Sub-Contract 2011 with bespoke amendments.
The amendments required Balfour to give MW notice and particulars of any anticipated delay "as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any event within 16 weeks of receipt of the required particulars".
Delays occurred to certain works and in August 2019 Balfour referred to adjudication its claim for an extension of time.
In October 2019, the adjudicator published his decision, awarding the full extension of time sought.
MW argued that the adjudicator did not have jurisdiction to decide the dispute and that his decision was invalid because Balfour had served a new and substantial delay report on it eight days before commencing the adjudication.
That amounted to a new claim; eight days fell far short of the agreed contractual allowance or a reasonable time necessary to assess the report; accordingly, no dispute had crystallised when Balfour referred the claim to adjudication.
Balfour countered that it had given notice of delay and claimed an extension of time by letters in compliance with the contractual requirements and MW had not sought further particulars of any of the delays or their causes.
MW had also failed to address the claims for an extension and failed to make any response to the notices within the contractual period of 16 weeks.
The court found that Balfour had correctly set out the cause of delay and the relevant circumstances.
Therefore, it had provided the notice of delay and the supporting information required by the contract.
Please contact Mandeep Singh if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of contract law.