Kick-starting construction with minor works

Peter Hibberd BW 2017

Recent government initiatives have created opportunities for construction, especially minor works – but which contract forms should you use?

The construction industry, like most other industries, is going through one of the most challenging periods in living memory. In April construction activity fell by 40% month on month for new works and around 38% for repair works, according to the Office for National Statistics. This is not surprising given the lockdown, but a degree of miscommunication meant that many contractors stopped working when they could have continued, albeit with restrictions.

As we emerge from lockdown, and business takes on a semblance of normality, construction is expected to be at the forefront as government announcements abound. Once again, the industry’s function as a prime economic regulator is to play a significant part. In addition to the plans for increasing infrastructure expenditure, there are new regulations that provide greater freedom to change the use of buildings and land without needing planning permission. Existing commercial properties, including newly vacated shops, can be converted into residential housing more easily. This comes alongside a financial package of measures that includes a £12bn affordable homes package. There is also the chancellor’s Summer Statement, which includes £2bn for grants for green home improvements as part of a £3bn plan for decarbonising housing and public buildings, and the temporary relief of stamp duty land tax (SDLT).

Plans are one thing, action is another.

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