Negotiate, not bully

by Conrad Egbert

Last week, following extensive chats with developers, contractors and suppliers, it was clear that most of the industry is renegotiating contracts to better suit the current market conditions. Now, even though this may seem like the best option (and it probably is) to kick-start the construction industry, a couple of things that Besix’s Philippe Dessoy and Arabtec’s Tom Barry pointed out, painted a different picture. [Read more…]

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The emergence of Asian construction contractors in the Middle East

by Mark Raymont
In recent years, the Middle East has proved to be one of the most attractive construction and engineering markets in the world for international contractors. Notwithstanding the present global economic climate, parts of the Middle East continue to present significant opportunities and many global construction contractors are active in the region. Among the most prominent are construction contractors who are head-quartered in the Asia Pacific area, as is illustrated by some of the more high-profile projects in the Middle East, where construction contractor consortia have include many of the major Japanese and South Korean construction firms. [Read more…]

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Contractors are left guessing in the Gulf

The Gulf’s construction clients are struggling to make up their minds. Governments may be busy issuing tenders for new projects, but few awards are following once bids come in. For contractors, this presents serious problems, as they do not know if or when they will get any new work.

In Abu Dhabi, for instance, the first tenders have been issued for the MGM development at Mina Zayed, and contractors have been told to submit bids in May for a new 60,000-seat stadium in the Capital City area. But at the same time, the tender for Tawam hospital has been cancelled and contractors and consultants have been waiting for months for awards on a sewage tunnel programme and a metro system. [Read more…]

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New decade, new development of the remoteness rule

by Sarah Thomas

In this, the second of my New Year updates, I would like to discuss two interesting cases which have recently been decided by the UK courts. The first is the UK Court of Appeal upholding of a first instance judgment and the comments that the Court made on the recoverability of damages under English contract law.

The case is Supershield Limited v Siemens Building Technologies FE Ltd. As a reminder, the basic test under English law is that a party will recover losses flowing from the breach that (i) arise naturally, in the usual course of things, or (ii) are losses which the parties may reasonably be taken to have contemplated when entering into the contract (the “Hadley v. Baxendale” test, often known as the “remoteness” test). A previous recent development of this area resulted from the House of Lord’s decision in the Achilleas case which suggests that a defendant will not be liable for losses — even those which are not unusual and therefore potentially not too “remote” — which he cannot reasonably be regarded as having assumed responsibility for.

[Read more…]

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U.S. Crackdown is Raising the Price of Corruption

by Andrew Ness

The principal weapon of the U.S. government to combat corruption in international business dealings is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). To say that the U.S. is now aggressively pursuing FCPA cases is an understatement. In the past year, we have seen billions of dollars of fines, sting operations, and the pursuit of individuals around the world. Here are some of the latest FCPA headlines:

[Read more…]

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“Clause pénale” v. liquidated damages – any similarities?

by Joanne Clarke

Delays are of course a common problem in construction projects. French law (like English law) allows for a pre-estimation of damages for delay. However, the common law and the civil law approaches to such pre-estimation appear to differ, as pan-European construction professionals may have encountered.

[Read more…]

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New Tort Law Firms up Liability for Tofu Buildings

by Hew Kian Heong

On 26 December 2009, the PRC Tort Liability Law (the “Tort Law”) was promulgated following a seven-year period of discussions and debate. The law will enter into effect on 1 July 2010.

[Read more…]

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The Procurement Process in Canada after the Supreme Court of Canada Tercon Decision*

by Joel Heard

The tendering and procurement process in Canada has traditionally been treated by the courts as a special area of contract law in which fairness and protecting the integrity of the tender process have been guiding principles.  Courts have implied terms into contract “A” bid contracts that have obliged owners to act fairly, and wide discretionary clauses have been interpreted narrowly to ensure the integrity of the tendering process. [Read more…]

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When a ‘notice’ need not be ‘noticed’

by Vincent Connor

Opening the mailbox at my Hong Kong apartment block brings the usual array of bills, more bills, flyers and…what appear to be ‘notices’ (usually from my landlord): but as we know from the world of construction law, often it is argued that what is intended to be a ‘notice’ fails to meet up to the strict requirements of the contract.

[Read more…]

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Check Your Project for These Four Warning Signs

Obviously your project is in trouble if you are missing deadlines and consistently exceeding the estimated effort and cost to get work done. However, you may have a project that actually appears to be on schedule, yet you are concerned about potential problems down the road.

There are things that you can look for that will give some sense as to whether there are potential problems lurking. At this point you cant really call them issues or problems, but they can be identified as risks that have the potential to throw your project off in the future. [Read more…]

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