Given small profit margins, extended supply chains, the sometimes draconian effect of the statutory payment regime under the Housing Grants, Construction & Regeneration Act 1996, the poor payment practices of some employers and main contractors, and difficult financial climates in recent years, contractor [in]solvency is a subject that arises with some frequency, both from the perspective of the contractor itself and from that of the party or parties it is in contract with. Specifically: what is the risk of insolvency and what happens if insolvency actually occurs?
Those questions in turn provoke questions such as the following:
At procurement stage
Is the contractor a sensible (i.e. financially strong) contracting party for me? Do I need bonds or guarantees to protect me? How can insurance protect me? What termination rights do I have in the event of insolvency?
At works stage
If the works are incomplete at insolvency stage, what rights do I have over those works and unused materials? Can and how quickly can I bring in a replacement contractor? What about liability for defects in works that were carried out by an insolvent contractor?
At dispute stage
What value to me is an insolvent defendant: none? Can an insolvent claimant continue with proceedings against me? If I lose an adjudication and have to pay out, will the successful contractor still be trading by the time I hopefully get a Decision in a second dispute going back the other way and allow me to recover my money? If not, can I resist payment in the first adjudication?
Wrongful trading under the Insolvency Act is another area that we get asked about: i.e. have Directors continued to trade when there was no reasonable prospect of the company avoiding insolvency?
Construction law and insolvency law are often bedfellows and we have great experience in this area.
Ridgemont’s team is made up of expert senior solicitors, all of whom previously worked in “Big Law” (i.e. the top 50 law firms in the UK).
We provide bespoke advice tailored to your needs. Our advice is commercial and pragmatic, enabling you to use it effectively to make business decisions.
We have an expert understanding of construction law. We can guide you through the maze of contractor insolvency.
We are user-friendly. Our lawyers speak in plain English, providing service levels akin to “Big Law”. We have built our processes to make onboarding as pain-free as possible. Our fee earner structure means that you have access to a partner-level solicitor at all times and they will always be on top of your matter.
We operate our business in an ethical way. That means we think about what the “right thing to do” is when making a business decision. As an example, we do not charge a default unit of time for incoming emails or letters as we think we ought to be paid for work done, not for merely receiving correspondence. We are also open and transparent on what we charge, meaning our clients never receive a surprising invoice.
We provide “Big Law” service levels and quality of advice, with expert senior solicitors providing commercial, pragmatic advice. Necessarily, that does not come cheap as we have to invest in great lawyers and everything they need to do their job. However, due to us having comparatively lower overheads to “Big Law” firms, we are able to charge less than they would for providing the same service levels and advice.
We are proactive in finding innovative ways to advise our clients in a cost proportionate way.
Who we act for?
We act for developers, contractors, sub-contractors, professionals and investors across a range of sectors from residential to retail.
Your journey with us
- Get in touch using the contact form below, calling us on 0203 909 9590 or emailing us at email@example.com
- We guarantee that we will be in touch with you the same day to listen to your needs and to explain how we can help and the likely cost.
- Assuming you wish to engage us, we will then onboard you as a client, which normally takes a matter of hours.
- From there, you will be assigned an experienced solicitor who will have conduct of your matter from cradle to grave and be available to speak to you and responsive to emails at every juncture.
You can learn more about our journey by watching these videos.
KEY CONTACT: Tim Seal
Head of Construction