Important COVID-19 Update

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These are certainly challenging times for us all.

We are committed to doing everything we can to prioritise the wellbeing of our people, those who use our services and their representatives and the communities we serve to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday, our people will begin working remotely from today, Monday 23 March.

Having well developed online dispute resolution options, it will in many ways be business as usual for us as we focus on providing a seamless service, regardless of where our Registry staff, adjudicators, arbitrators and mediators are working.

We know you are working through similar challenges to ours and that these are uncertain times for everyone. From all of us here we send our thoughts to you, your teams and families.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance to you and we will keep you informed with any further updates.

In this issue we look at the government guidelines for NZS3910:2013 contracts affected by Covid-19 Alert level 4 restrictions. We discuss adjudication injunctions caused by the virus and how they may help to provide some clarity to a rather cloudy area of law. We look at the recent High Court judgment in Haskell Construction limited vs Robert Francis Ashcroft and the clarification it provides as to whether an adjudicator can award damages for breach of contract. We examine the concept of ‘buildability’ and investigate whether the responsibility to ensure the ‘buildability’ of a project lies with the designer or the contractor. Elsewhere we discuss warning signs that building guarantee schemes are not financially viable, the use of indemnities in construction contracts and more.

In Case In Brief we look at Rintoul Group Ltd v Far North District Council [2019] NZHC 2577 in which the New Zealand High Court made a clear distinction between retentions and payment claims and suggested that the default provisions in the CCA do not apply to retentions.

CONTENTS
  • Covid-19: Government Contract Guidelines for NZS3910:2013
  • Damages for breach of contract under the CCA: a welcomeDamages for breach of contract under the CCA: a welcome clarification
  • Buildability – who bears the risk? 
  • Warning signs emerge regarding viability of building guarantee schemes
  • Adjudication injunctions: will Covid-19 develop the law? 
  • Mann bites quantum meruit
  • Case In Brief – Distinguishing payment claims from  payment of retentions: Rintoul Group Ltd v Far North District Council [2019] NZHC 2577
  • The use (and misuse) of indemnities in construction contracts