Constructive Criticism - Biggest overhaul of UK Construction Law for a decade takes effect


On 1 October 2011, UK construction law underwent arguably its biggest shakeup since the Construction Act was introduced in 1996. In this article, Michael Axe summarises the key changes to the statutory rules governing payment under construction contracts.

For over a decade, the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (more commonly referred to simply as the Construction Act 1996) has governed the way in which parties to construction contracts are paid, as well as setting out their rights when a dispute over payment arises. However, on 1 October 2011 in England and Wales (and 1 November 2011 in Scotland), many of the key terms of the Construction Act 1996 were amended by the "catchily-titled" Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.

In this articles, we look at the effect of the amendments, specifically in relation to determining whether a contract is a "construction contract" within the meaning of the Construction Act, the application of the Act to oral agreements, determining whether the old or the new rules apply to a construction contract, and the likely effect of the other key rule changes.

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