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UK City Development Remains Broadly Resilient

UK city development has defied market challenges after delivering nearly 2.5 million square foot of office space in 2020, a rise of over 547000 square foot more than 2019.

The Crane Survey, which monitors construction activity across a range of sectors including offices, residential, hotels, retail, education and student housing, shows that a further 3.61 million sq ft of office space is currently under construction across the quartet of cities.

Construction activities means any and all activity incidental to the erection, demolition, assembling, altering, installing or equipping of buildings, structures, roads or appurtenances thereto, including land clearing, grading, excavating and filling.

Residential delivery increased nearly 67%, rising by 3,290 to 8,197 new homes completed in 2020. A further 18,912 residential properties are currently under development in the four cities.

The cities have delivered 5,405 student bed spaces in city centres, with a further 3,485 in development as universities and private student accommodation providers continue to invest in both teaching accommodation and student housing.

Deloitte’s research indicates the shift to home-working could change how businesses use office space in the future, which, in turn, could influence how local residential areas are used.

This could potentially shape the role of neighbourhood set-ups to create more diversity within local centres.

Extension of Deadline in Construction Contracts

An Extension of Time is a clause in most of construction contracts offering the contractor the possibility to extend the construction period when a delay occurs. That delay must not be the contractor’s fault but caused by a distinct relevant event.

There is a wide variety of events that could potentially disrupt a construction process and entitle the contractor to an EOT. Some relevant events are frequent, like failure to provide information, variations, or delay in giving the contractor possession of the site.

Other relevant events are rare and rather unpredictable in the long term, like civil unrest, exceptionally adverse weather, or war.

When a delay happens or is about to happen, the contractor has to give written notice to the consultant / client. Such notice must clearly identify the relevant event responsible for the delay, as well as prove the causality between the disrupting force and the delay itself. If the other party shares the same view on what caused the delay, they usually grant the EOT and adjust the completion date accordingly. The completion date is a vital temporal landmark in the life of a construction project.

Such a date establishes a clear limit for the main scope of works included in the contract to be completed.

EOT requests have to be thoroughly prepared before submission to maximise clarity and facilitate agreement. After identifying the responsible relevant event, the contractor has to link it to the contract clause that allows for the request. However, that is not always enough.

The construction project can deviate from the baseline programme produced at the start of the contract, without that programme being updated to account for drops in productivity. In that case, the contractor might have difficulties separating delays occurring from its own fault from delays related to the relevant event. Besides causality, the claim for extension should also address liability.

In other words, the contractor provides proof that they fully understand their responsibilities. Often, EOT requests have to be submitted in a certain time window to retain their validity.

Successful claims are reliant on good practices regarding documenting the delays. The contractor should be able to record when and why the relevant event occurred and output a list of resources, tasks, and activities that it directly or indirectly affected.

It helps to have proof of all actions or alternative solutions taken to minimise the delay, as well as quantify all associated costs. Once all the available information is gathered, the contractor deploys a Delay Analysis meant to estimate the impact on the project completion date. Construction contracts are generally geared on allowing the construction period to be extended when the contractor has no fault in the delay and has formulated an EOT application.

However, not all claims are successful. An application can be rejected when it is proven that the contractor has actually underperformed. Judging claims for extensions of time is more complicated when concurrent delays occur. For example, a contractor already not keeping up with the programme due to a force outside their control might also have been the cause for a different delay where both of these delays’ effects are felt simultaneously.

Usually, in this case, the contractor would claim for an EOT award and avoid paying liquidated damages while the owner is relieved from compensating the contractor for its prolongation costs.

Concurrent Delay in Kuwait

A concurrent delay occurs when independent delays overlap, each affecting the schedule and completion date of a construction project. Depending on project scale and complexity, two or more concurrent delays can act at the same time.

True concurrency means the delay events of the client and the contractor both start and finish at the same time. However, true concurrency is very unlikely to occur.

Reality shows that delays need only to overlap for a given period of time to qualify as concurring delays.

The most relevant aspect of concurrent delays is that courts, boards of contract appeals, arbitration panels, and experts, are inconsistent in defining and assessing concurrent delays. That is a direct consequence of contracts failing to include terms for matters of concurrency or doing it in an ambiguous way.

Concurrent delays represent unique situations in which establishing liability is not a straightforward process. Although the consequences overlap, the causes are usually traced at various dates back in time. This leads to the difficult task of establishing the presence or absence of correlation.

The most common bias here is to assume that if one event came after another, it must have been influenced by it.

While normal delays generate well-known contractual consequences, supported by either the client or the contactor, concurring delays leave many ends that are open to interpretation. Owners use concurrent delays to avoid being billed for extended overhead, change orders and other claims.

On the other side, contractors invoke concurrent delays to escape paying liquidated damages and to recover extra costs associated with delays. A common example occurs when the contractor is already behind schedule by its own fault and the client triggers a second delay-producing event.

Concurrent delays also take place when a delay caused by one party overlaps with an abnormal neutral event causing an excusable event.

Judging concurring delays is complicated and verdicts are often unpredictable. An investigation is launched to establish culpability, with the first focus on confirming that the delays are indeed independent of each other.

That is usually done through an analysis that proves the impact on the critical path of one delay persists when all the other concurrent delays are neglected. Another condition for concurrency as defined in AACE International RP 29R-03 is that none of the delays are voluntary.

In addition, the delayed work has to be substantial and not easily correctable to constitute a claim. One possible outcome when no dominant cause of delay is found is apportioning delay. The decision must be fair for all parts, as verdicts on concurrent delays are often judged based on legal precedent. How cases are solved today will influence future cases.

When supporting their claims, parties should provide evidence derived from records of documents and communication. Such evidence must focus on pinpointing the exact moment the event causing the delay occurred. A cause-effect relation has to be proven, most often through a critical path analysis.

Parties have an advantage when they can provide proof of identifying and addressing the danger of the delay with written notices.

Contractors should invest time and resources into making sure the contract’s requirements are well-known by all their personnel having an administrative role in the project. This is crucial for notifying delays in a timely manner and in applying for time extension.

Prompt notice on anything that can potentially impact project completion should become a priority as any delays can have weight in court, even if the other party is also responsible for much of the delay. A contractor invoking a concurrent delay should always back their claims against a solid construction schedule. Owners should also take a proactive stance by being careful that the contract terms are enforced from the very beginning.

The danger here lies in a more relaxed and passive attitude being mistaken by the contractor as implied consent.

The Kilpatrick Renaissance Wins Masonry Award

Masonry is the building of structures from individual units, which are often laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves.

The Kilpatrick Renaissance recently won an Excellence in Masonry award from the Masonry Advisory Council. Worn Jerabek Wiltse Architects, P.C. is proud to have been a team member on this project. Congratulations to everyone involved!

The Kilpatrick Renaissance is a 4-story independent senior’s apartment building located in Chicago’s Portage Park neighbourhood. The project was built to address the need for affordable housing options that would allow local seniors to remain in the neighbourhood they call home. It includes 98 residential units available to seniors ages 55+ that consist of 38 studio apartments, 54 one bedroom apartments, and 6 two bedroom apartments.

In addition to the residential units, The Kilpatrick Renaissance features numerous common amenities available to the residents including an on-site management office; club room with a fireplace, lounge areas, and a kitchen; sun room opening onto a beautifully landscaped private courtyard with a pergola, fire pit, and seating areas; library with computer stations; fitness room; resident storage units; and a 4th floor roof terrace with a pergola and lounge. In addition, the project includes a public pocket park on-site with seating areas, landscaped planting beds, and community garden plots that are open to all members of the community.

The building’s exterior façade consists primarily of brick and stone masonry with detail elements of composite metal panels at the projecting bays. The massing of the 4-story building was broken up into smaller volumes to fit better within the neighbourhood context.

The project has incorporated a number of sustainable design features including energy efficient variable refrigerant flow mechanical systems for heating and cooling, energy recovery on the building’s ventilation system, high efficiency lighting, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, Energy Star appliances, and a rainwater harvesting system that will supply water for the landscaping irrigation system.

The Masonry Advisory Council is a collaboration of Educators, Experienced Professionals, Engineers, and Supplier Groups that support masonry construction, materials and assemblies. Contact us with your masonry questions, we are here to help.