Is the supply and delivery of concrete a construction operation?

In a recent High Court case, this question was asked in respect of the enforcement of an Adjudicator’s decision. Only contracts that fall within the definition of “construction operations” fall within the Construction Act and therefore can rely on the Act for interim payments and adjudication.

In this case, it had been alleged that the concrete supplied was defective. The contractor had referred the dispute to adjudication and had succeeded in its claim against the supplier and was awarded damages. It sought to enforce the adjudication award through the High Court.

The supplier had supplied the concrete and poured it in the place requested by the contractor.  However, it had not carried out any other work to the concrete after the pour. Enforcement of the adjudication award was opposed on the grounds that it was simply the supply of concrete and therefore it did not fall within the definition of “construction operations”. It was held in the High Court that they were right. The fact that it was poured into the place that it was to be used did not make it more than a supply of concrete and therefore it was excluded. The adjudication award was not enforced.

This situation can therefore be added to the long list of other operations that are not included within the definition and, as a result, cannot rely upon the Construction Act.

If you require advice on construction contracts, adjudication or enforcement of an Adjudicator’s award, please contact me.

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