26 January 2017 #Construction
January is almost behind us and has certainly provided its fair share of interesting developments. Having recently published an article on what key themes we expect to see in 2017, we now highlight some of the significant developments to keep an eye out for over the remaining 11 months.
Release of the 2016 JCT suite of building contracts will continue into 2017. If you missed any of our previous updates, you can find articles on the releases of the Standard Building, Design & Build, Minor Works and Intermediate Building contracts here.
We should also see the release of FIDIC's updated suite of contracts, including the Red, Silver and Yellow Books, and understand that new editions of the RIBA forms of appointment may be on the way. It is unclear whether other standard contract providers will be releasing new editions in 2017.
Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Back in April 2016, the mandatory use of BIM Level 2 came into force for all centrally procured government projects. This was in keeping with the government’s hopes of introducing BIM to the broader industry without the need for legislation, instead leading by example and showcasing the benefits of BIM through their own developments.
We have known for some time of the government’s intention to commence steps towards BIM Level 3 in 2017, and can expect to see further progress throughout the year. The next level of modelling may well be trialled on a number of government projects later in the year, but we are still some way away from seeing its use as a mandatory requirement.
The Crossrail service is expected to be fully operational by December 2019, but this year will bring a significant development as the partial opening of the line between Liverpool Street and Shenfield is scheduled for May 2017. In respect of Crossrail 2, only further consultation is expected for now.
The High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill is due for its third reading at the House of Lords in a matter of days, as the government recently commenced the process of purchasing a fleet of trains to run on Phase One of the development. Construction of Phase One is expected to commence this year, while consultation continues for the implementation of Phase Two.
In the Courts
Following what has clearly been deemed a successful pilot, it will now be compulsory to use electronic working in the TCC (and other Rolls Building courts) from 25 April 2017.
It will no longer be possible to issue claims or file applications and other documents by paper, which will instead have to be done using the CE-File system. While there will inevitably be a period of adjustment, the ability to file documents with the court 24 hours a day, all year round, should be a welcome benefit.
And of course, Brexit
The ink is barely dry on the Supreme Court’s judgment, yet the government’s bill for Article 50 legislation is already expected any day now.
We can expect political wrangling to dominate the headlines for the early part of the year. The impact of the legislative process on the Prime Minister’s Brexit timeline, and whether there will be economical ramifications of a period of uncertainty, remains to be seen. We will continue to comment on these issues as they develop.