Size of construction disputes drops by half

The average value of construction disputes in the UK fell by 47% last year as the industry started to make headway with early resolution of problems on contracts.

According to analysis of global disputes, the UK leads the way in dispute resolution, typically with low dispute values and quick resolution times, compared with global averages.

The UK takes the shortest average length of time to solve a dispute – 12.8 months. Although, this is 28% longer than last year and consistent with the global trend, whereby disputes are taking longer on average to resolve.

The analysis by consultant Arcadis shows contractors are now seeking to resolve contractual disputes as they arise rather than letting them build up into large final account rows.

The report uncovered a reduction in the use of adjudications and an increase in negotiation as the preferred method of dispute resolution.

This could be after a Court of Appeal ruling reducing the use of ‘smash ‘n’ grab’ adjudications, said Arcadis, or concerns about the growing cost of the adjudication process and a tendency for significant extensions to the prescribed 28-day statutory period for a decision.

Adrain Bell, partner at legal firm CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, said: “Parties are now generally preferring to try to resolve disputes as they arise contemporaneously during a project and/or to split disputes into more manageable bite-sized chunks.

“It is not a sign, unfortunately, that the UK construction industry is becoming any less contentious.”

He said that the drive to resolve rows earlier was being supported by the drafters of standard form contracts.

“Many of these contracts now contain elaborate provisions to ensure the early notification of claims and regimes that facilitate early discussion of them between the contracting parties,” said Bell.

“They also support rapid recourse to a third party neutral if their intervention is required.”

But with standard contract forms becoming longer and more complex, failure to properly administer the contract is the primary cause of disputes.

Gary Kitt, Head of UK Contract Solutions at Arcadis, said: “In some cases, it could be argued construction contracts are simply too complex for administrators to understand, and better training for everyone involved would go some way towards avoiding disputes as they arise.

“However, our results show the UK to be a world leader in effective avoidance and mitigation strategies.

“As we continue to transition towards greater use of digital technologies like BIM and 4-, 5- or 6D modelling, we are likely to see an improvement in risk allocation much earlier on in the process. This could help all parties to collaboratively resolve any difficulties before cost and time pressures start to escalate.”

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Gilbert-Ash Unveils Unique ‘As One’ Exhibition

Celebrating Collaboration in the Making of Landmark Buildings

Last week, leading UK construction, refurbishment and fit out contractor,
Gilbert-Ash marked its recent growth by unveiling a collaborative As One exhibition at an event at The IET, London.

Attended by over 100 high profile guests from the across the design and construction industry, the considered collection celebrates twenty three iconic projects.

The exhibition has been designed to represent how Gilbert-Ash has grown significantly in this time as a result of its unique collaborative approach working with its team, partners and clients to create landmark buildings around the world.

Selected and interpreted by Hugh Mulholland, one of the UK and Ireland’s leading visual art curators and currently Senior Curator of The MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) in Belfast, the imagery includes recent, high-profile projects. These include the Cambridge Mosque, stand-out Royal College of Pathologists headquarters, the award-winning City of London Freemen’s School swimming pool and the stunning new build of the renowned Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

Curator Hugh Mulholland commented: “As One” is a considered collection that brings together imagery from Gilbert-Ash’s most recent, highest profile projects. In totality, the exhibition symbolises the company’s ‘as one’ approach. But take a closer look and you’ll discover that each photograph does too. Wood, glass, stone and the environment in which each building exists work together to create a unity much greater than the sum of the parts.

Ray Hutchinson, Managing Director, Gilbert-Ash commented: “As we recognise the recent success of many projects and our continued growth as company, we felt it was the perfect time to step back and take a moment to understand why we have reached this point; and this exhibition is the result – a celebration of collaboration and our signature can-do style.

“We have had the privilege of working with visionary clients, partners and suppliers, and we really do work as one to pursue excellence, delivering innovative, bespoke buildings all over the world. Gilbert-Ash is an employee owned company which certainly leads to a unique working culture. Our success is in no small part down to this environment and the hands-on attitude of our dedicated team – often going above and beyond to deliver stunning buildings while confidently facing and overcoming challenges that can often be encountered.”

The venue selected for the unveiling of the ‘As One’ exhibition – the headquarters of the Institution of Engineering &Technology (IET) on Savoy Place – is also an award-winning Gilbert-Ash project preserving a heritage building while providing a contemporary home for the IET and its 150,000 members in 127 countries around the world and one of London’s most technologically advanced conferencing facilities.

Aside from projects highlighted in the As One exhibition, Gilbert-Ash’s current work on prestigious Royal College of Music in London was represented this evening by a talented quartet which accompanied the unveiling.

Gilbert-Ash projects have been shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stirling Prize with its work on the Everyman Theatre recognised in the winning of the coveted award in 2014. The contractor employs over 180 staff at offices in London and Belfast and is currently UK Contractor of the Year in the coveted Construction News Awards.

Gilbert-Ash’s latest financial results reveal significant year-on-year growth with an increase in overall turnover to £179.4m in 2018, up from £165.5m in the previous year. The company also confirmed a more than three-fold increase in pre-tax profits to £7.6m in 2018, an increase from £2m in 2017. Gilbert-Ash attributes its continued strong performance to its ‘As One’ approach and its unique working culture and family environment as an employee-owned company. It also highlighted the completion this year of a broad portfolio of successful construction projects across sectors including arts and culture, workplace, hotels and leisure, science and technology, retail and residential.

Speaking tonight at the event, Managing Director, Ray Hutchinson also revealed plans to invest in new £5m headquarters in Belfast with work already underway on the prestigious new facilities close to its current offices in Boucher Road in the city.

The As One Exhibition will be moving tomorrow to The MAC, an award-winning venue in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and home to iconic exhibitions, theatre performances, and contemporary experimental works. Employees, partners and industry stakeholders from across Northern Ireland will join Gilbert-Ash in the Belfast unveiling.

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Talented tradespeople from across the country have competed in the annual national final of the Guild of Bricklayers, hosted by the City of Liverpool College.

This year’s event was attended by over 150 people who came to see 20 finalists from across the country compete against each other at the City of Liverpool College’s Vaxhaull Road campus, to be crowned the nation’s best bricklayer.

Founded in 1932, the Guild of Bricklayers aims to promote and maintain the highest standards of craftsmanship in brickwork.


Following 10 regional heats, junior and senior finalists were challenged to compete in their categories for the title. The overall winners were Adam Batty of Barnsley College in the senior category and Tom Taylor of Wiltshire College in the junior category.

Supporting competitors were a number of industry organisations including Wienerberger, MPA, Ox tools, Tilgear, Marshalltown, Stabila, Footprint and Costco.


Kevin Harold, president of the National Guild of Bricklayers, said:

“This competition is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase and celebrate the incredible skill that we have in the industry. I’m always incredibly impressed by the standard that comes through the competition, in a trade which is particularly challenging to master.

“I would like to personally congratulate all of this year’s finalists and in particular the deserving winners, who I’m sure will go on to do great things.”

Elaine Bowker, principal of the City of Liverpool College, said:

“It’s an absolute pleasure for us to have the opportunity to host this national final at The City of Liverpool College. There is some fantastic talent coming out of our country and in the North West in particular, in these trades which are facing ever-growing skills gaps.

“These skills are essential to our economy and it’s something that we’re incredibly passionate about celebrating, as demonstrated by our partnership with £5 billion regeneration scheme Liverpool Waters and the newly launched Construction Hub which will help bridge the industry’s skills gap in our city region.

“The construction industry plays a leading role in delivering economic growth and is essential in meeting the economic and social challenges that Local Enterprise Partnerships face, so it’s important that we celebrate the talent and passion that exists across the country.”

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Revealed: The Construction Sector’s Plastic Problem

Did you know that the construction industry accounts for almost a quarter (23%) of the plastic consumed in the UK?

Did you also know that every year, 40% of this plastic is sent to landfill? Amounting to 20,000 tonnes – this plastic waste weighs the same amount of two Eiffel Towers.

As a means of helping the construction industry lessen its plastic usage, Insulation Express has uncovered the practical solutions construction workers can utilise on a day-to-day basis:

Revealed: The Construction Sector’s Plastic Problem

  • 95% of construction professionals admit that the industry needs to reduce its plastic use.
  • Whilst the durability of plastic is useful, it’s also part of its demise – it can take up to 1000 years to decompose. And whilst it degrades, it contaminates our soil and oceans with the release of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases.
  • Every year, the UK’s construction sector generates 50,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste – which is four times the weight of the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Reducing your plastic waste can be a financial benefit, too. One contractor, Risby Homes saved £13,000 on a 25-home development project – simply by reducing, reusing and recycling their plastic waste.

5 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste in Construction

  1. A huge proportion of packaging thrown away can often be reused. Talk to your supplier to see if they can reduce their packaging, or take back the packaging to recycle yourself.
  2. Try and order your productions in bulk or larger packs. This will cut the volume of packaging per item, and reduce the need for multiple polypropylene bags.
  3. Use reusable plastic boxes to place and protect materials – before returning the boxes to the supplier.
  4. For the plastic packaging that can’t be recycled, send it to a licensed Waste Management Contractor. They are best placed to decide their destination.
  5. Use large sheets of plastic sheeting that arrived as wrapping for use on site as weather protection.

Interested in the full findings?

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New data shows outstanding construction industry growth

The construction sector experienced rapid growth of 10% between 2016 and 2018.

New government data analysis conducted by Love Energy Savings has revealed that the construction sector has seen a whopping 10% growth between 2016 and 2018.

In 2016, there were 300,000 construction businesses in the UK, rising to 330,000 by 2018.

Along with this rapid increase, construction was also found to own a 12.4% share of all UK business – a higher percentage than any other sector in the UK.

Construction is laying strong foundations

Love Energy Savings also found that in November 2018, construction output reached an all-time high since records began, exceeding £14 billion. Correlating with the government’s pledge to build 300,000 new homes each year to alleviate the housing crisis, this increased output was aided by growth in private new housing, private commercial new work, and public housing repair.

Phil Foster, CEO of Love Energy Savings, said:

“The data we’ve analysed paints an interesting portrait of the UK business world. The North West has recently become a key destination for businesses, being the only destination that weathered the uncertainty that followed the 2016 referendum.

“It’s also fantastic to see how investment has played a role in growth, specifically in Wales and Northern Ireland: when government funding is put into the hands of the UK’s entrepreneurs, regions thrive.

“Love Energy Savings will continue to support business throughout the UK and hopefully, we’ll see the North West grow even more, with the rest of the UK following suit.”

Interactive map: How is UK business performing in 2019?

Love Energy Savings analysed UK government data on business activity, size and location. Through the data, they created a map that highlights the number of business births, deaths, average company turnover, average household income and average energy costs in the UK.

They also analysed industry data, including FinTech, transport and energy.

The data used for the content was taken from a range of different reports. Some of these reports include data for 2018, whereas others do not. Therefore, some of the date ranges used may differ. We have, however, used the latest available figures in every instance.

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Excellence in ironmongery showcased in GAI Yearbook

A new publication containing the latest door hardware advice for architects and specifiers and showcasing best practice internationally has been launched by the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI).

The GAI Yearbook contains architectural ironmongery and technical standards advice and has been created to recognise the importance of the professional partnership between architects and architectural ironmongers.

There is guidance for sourcing door and window hardware professionals, including a list of all Registered Architectural Ironmongers (RegAI) who can help put together a?compliant and robust hardware schedule.?

Angie Corkhill, director of the GAI, says:

“When it comes to architectural ironmongery, even the smallest error can impact the performance of the door, the fire integrity and flow of the building. It’s a complex industry and a hard subject to master, so we hope that this publication will encourage architects to use a RegAI on all future projects.”

RegAIs are fully qualified?architectural ironmongery professionals who have completed their GAI Diploma and have committed to maintaining a high level of knowledge, keeping?fully?up-to-date with the latest?legislation, industry standards and?products through the GAI’s CPD programme.

Within the Yearbook, Jonathan Hall, director of architectural practice AHMM, has given an exclusive interview talking about AHMM’s projects and award wins, architectural ironmongery and the specification process. Jonathan also was also a judge for this year’s Architectural Ironmongery Specification Awards, organised by the?GAI?in association with the?Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The GAI Yearbook showcases the winning projects of the Architectural Ironmongery Specification Awards from the UK and internationally, giving an overview of each project and the ironmongery specification. It also includes a comprehensive update on ironmongery standards from GAI technical manager, Douglas Masterson. If you would like a free copy of the 2019 Yearbook, please contact

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AFI’s Brian Parker takes on 3rd ZIGGURAT bike ride for the construction and built environment sectorAFI’s Brian Parker takes on 3rd ZIGGURAT bike ride for the construction and built environment sector

United Kingdom 03/07/2019 – AFI’s Business Development Manager (Technical Support) Brian Parker is taking up a 326-mile, 4-day cycling journey from London to Compiegne in the 3rd annual ZIGGURAT challenge. Posted via Industry Today. Follow us on Twitter @IndustryToday Continue Reading

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