Construction Law, Contracts and Dispute Resolution

Objectives:
1. To impart a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the background to and working of the legal system in England and Wales and create a framework of the legal skills and legal discourse relevant to the practice of a quantity surveyor, with specific reference to construction contract law and other forms of liability relevant to the construction industry.
2. To prepare students for the commercial environment by appraising the various approaches which may be utilised to implement and manage various contractual arrangements.
Task Outline:
The task is to prepare a professional report not exceeding 2,000 words in length, referenced appropriately, relating to the contractual remedies and practical solutions which may be available to the project team in the event of a substantial delay caused by an unexpected issue on site as described in the scenario below.
Scenario:
You are the client’s quantity surveyor. Your firm has been engaged by the University of Portsmouth for some time to develop proposals for a project to extend the Portland Building. This proposal involves the construction of a new full-height wing to the existing building (to match the opposite wing) on the site of an existing electricity substation which will have to be incorporated into the new building or relocated. You have now completed tendering procedures and the contractor has been appointed.
Possession was given to the contractor last Monday in accordance with the contract, which is JCT SBC 2011 with quantities, with provision for sectional completions. The first major task was to excavate the car park ready to install the piled foundations for the new wing, several substantial brick structures which appear to be ancient fortifications have been uncovered by the contractor during excavation work.
One of the tender drawings included a note suggesting that some archaeology may be encountered and tenderers should include this in their bid, however no further specific provision was required in the tender documentation or Bill of Quantities.
The lead designer has made it clear that should access to these existing structures be required by any third parties, an instruction for suitable steps and/or ladders and support to the excavations will have to be issued.
Write a brief for the client advising on the implications of this situation. You should consider the general principles of contract law and the specific provisions of the contract. Evaluate the potential solutions to the various issues which may arise from these circumstances. Refer to general legal principles and case law where relevant to support your points.
Coursework submission and deadline:
Coursework should be submitted electronically through the Moodle drop box in accordance with SCES rules by the deadline shown above.
Learning outcomes (numbers relate to the Unit Descriptor Learning Outcomes):
1. Appraise the mechanisms by which the law relevant to the Construction Professional is enacted and developed.
2. Critically discuss the obligations most commonly imposed by law; those arising from the contract or negligence of the parties.
4. Assess and evaluate contract principles and relevant case law relating to construction disputes and assess the management needs resulting from these particular issues, recommending the most appropriate procedures and remedies available to the parties to a dispute.
Reading / References:
This is a professional report style, so there is unlikely to be a substantial amount of academic referencing although you will need to refer to contract clauses.
Any academic references you use should be properly cited and referenced in accordance with the Harvard APA method.
Grading scheme:
Appraisal of relevant issues relating to the law of contract and any statutory law affecting the circumstances or potential issues which may arise from the scenario: 30%
Critical discussion of the obligations imposed by the contract in the circumstances: 30%
Assessment of the contract principles relating to the scenario and evaluate contractual and practical solutions to the issues: 30%
Presentation: professional report format with appropriate referencing: 10%

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