Construction Industry Seminars

Lavan's Construction and Infrastructure team present bi-annual seminars to the industry on topical construction law and industry impacting issues.
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Construction Industry Seminars

Lavan's Construction and Infrastructure team have presented seminars on the following topics.  If you would like to receive a copy of the slides for any of the seminars detailed below, please email partner Shane Pentony.

31 July 2019 - The liability of building professionals for defective products

Lavan's Construction and Infrastructure team discussed a decision on combustible aluminium cladding in Owners Corporation v LU Simon Builders Pty Ltd [2019] VCAT 286, using the decision as a vehicle to:

  • Explain to what extent building professionals (builders, architects, engineers, surveyors etc) in Western Australia can be held responsible for the use of defective building products; and
  • Examine the factors that govern how liability can be divided between the various players.

17 October 2018 - Current Construction and Development Law Issues

Property and leasing partner Tamara Heng together with construction and infrastructure partner Tamica D'Uva and senior associate Cameron Bourhill  spoke about:

  • Fund Through Developments - Tamara spoke about structuring ‘fund through’ developments - where the land is acquired by the buyer before the improvements are constructed and the developer then is responsible for delivering the improvements.  The presentation covered how these developments are funded, how the developer is remunerated for delivering the improvements and why the structure is becoming increasingly popular.
  • Assignment of Building Warranties - Tamica spoke on assignment of building warranties on the sale of such developments and the extent to which purchasers of a property can take the benefit of the building warranties. In particular, Tamica discussed the recent case of Walker Group Constructions v Tzaneros where this issue was considered.
  • When all else fails, Misleading and Deceptive Conduct? - Cameron discussed the recent case of Brighton Australian v Multiplex Constructions.  In this case a subcontractor alleged that the subcontract tender documents contained misleading and deceptive information that caused it to enter into a loss making subcontract.

18 April 2018 - Insolvency in the Construction Industry

There has been a lot of recent media coverage as to contractors becoming insolvent, leaving subcontractors unpaid and projects being put at risk.

Insolvency partner Claire Petersen and Construction partner Tamica D'Uva discussed the legal rights, obligations and remedies associated with such insolvency from the viewpoint of all involved including subcontractors, contractors and principals.

This included:

  • The insolvency processes as to administration and liquidation, director’s obligations and unfair preference payments.
  • The provisions in standard form construction contracts dealing with such events including as to pulling bank guarantees.
  • The available statutory remedies (or lack thereof) including under the Construction Contracts Act.

5 October 2017 - The extent of a contractor’s liability for defective work and material

There has been a lot of coverage in the media recently where materials used in the construction of a building have been found to be unsuitable - inflammable cladding (Grenville tower fire), asbestos laden cladding (Perth Children’s Hospital) and toughened glass failing (and falling!).  The first person in the firing line will be the contractor.

Partners Rob Shaw and Shane Pentony discussed:

  • The extent of a contractor's liability for use of such materials and the relevance of contractual provisions requiring “compliance with Australian Standards” and “fitness for purpose” in extending or limiting the contractor's liability.
  • The use of extended warranties from suppliers to provide some comfort that the materials will be suitable.

23 March 2017- How Not to Run a Disruption & Prolongation Claim Basetec v Leighton: scope variations, misleading conduct, and inducing breaches of conduct

Lavan partners Robert Shaw and Greg Nairn presented on the topics:

How Not to Run a Disruption and Prolongation Claim - An examination of why the subcontractor’s claims in Van Oord UK Ltd and Sicim Road Bridge Ltd v Allseas [2015] EWHC 3074 failed.

It is hard to imagine a more complete and abject failure of a contractor’s claim than in the Van Oord case. The Judge’s reasons, and in particular comments on the shortcomings of the claim, are of interest to any person involved in a disruption and prolongation claim. Rob Shaw expounded on those shortcomings and the evidence the Judge was expecting in support of the case.

Basetec v Leighton: scope variations, misleading conduct, and inducing breaches of conduct - An analysis of a very recent Federal Court decision examining some common, and some uncommon, issues in construction disputes.

In Basetec Services Pty Ltd v Leighton Contractors [2016] FCA 1534, a piping subcontractor brought claims against Leighton following its contract being substantially varied and then terminated for convenience. Greg Nairn discussed key aspects of the case including:

  • a claim that Leighton had misled the subcontractor as to the true scope of works;
  • a claim that Leighton had induced the subcontractor’s pipe supplier to breach its contract with the subcontractor;
  • the application of notice and time bar provisions to the subcontractor’s claims made post-termination;
  • how a court approaches the quantification of variations under a construction contract.