Bob Perrin, partner at Bircham Dyson Bell LLP, recommends
simplicity when documenting who does what in preparing contaminated
land for development. The warning comes in the wake of the award of
Ł1.1 million in damages to Persimmon Home for clean-up work
at a former landfill site for which responsibility for the work lay
with their seller.
"In this particular case; Persimmon Homes and Hall
Aggregates had a contract that set out the roles that each should
play in the preparation of the land for development by
Persimmon," explains Bob Perrin.
"This was a contract dispute between the companies - Hall
Aggregates failed to complete all of their works and Persimmon
Homes were left to complete extensive preparatory works before they
could add their own capping layer and install a methane management
system. Hall Aggregates disputed the method adopted and the costs
incurred by Persimmon. There was also a dispute as to
responsibility lay for one element of the works.
"The weakness in this particular case was the splitting of
responsibility. My advice to others is to keep the contract simple.
If one party, preferably the buyer, does all of the work and the
price paid reflects this, there should be less chance of a contract
dispute arising. The Contaminated Land Regime caters for this.
Otherwise, real care needs to be taken to ensure that
responsibility for each element of the work is clearly defined and
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