Henry Development: a cautionary memoir of shaky defences

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Iain Taylor is an affiliate within the advance and engineering department at law firm Fladgate

Henry Development Projects’ high-profile collapse has left creditors in its supply chain looking out £43m. The firm’s administrators hang pointed to Ozel Neighborhood’s winding-up petition against Henry in Would possibly possibly possibly honest as the foundation of its downfall. On the opposite hand, it’s going to be the firm’s dispute with Alu-Fix, dominated upon by the Technology and Development Court docket earlier that identical month, that has longer-lasting implications for the advance sector.

“The judgment is seemingly to act as a deterrent to companies initiating ‘magnificent value’ adjudications with out total confidence within the of a ‘atomize and rob’ adjudication”

The background to Henry’s dispute with Alu-Fix revolves around cost for works performed by Alu-Fix on a boutique hotel construction in central London, as a subcontractor to Henry. The latter didn’t pay Alu-Fix by the closing date for cost situation out within the subcontract, main Alu-Fix to put up a ‘atomize and rob’ adjudication (SGA) to enhance the quantity due.

In response, Henry contended that it had submitted two right pay-less notices (PLN), which, it claimed, nullified its obligation to pay Alu-Fix the quantity claimed.

Whereas the SGA became ongoing, Henry commenced a ‘magnificent value’ adjudication (TVA), contending that it became owed extra than £235,000 as a results of overpayment.

In January of this year, the SGA adjudicator dominated that Henry’s PLNs were invalid and that the firm became required to pay Alu-Fix circa £257,000 within seven days. Having paid this sum, the TVA adjudicator therefore ordered Alu-Fix to repay extra than £191,000, reflecting what he sure to be the magnificent value of the works.

The quiz at method

Right precedent dictates that employers are no longer entitled to birth out a TVA unless they hang got complied with their instantaneous cost obligation. At method in this case became the purpose at which that obligation came into force. Henry argued that its obligation to pay Alu-Fix came into force as soon as its PLNs had been deemed invalid by strategy of the SGA, with which it complied while TVA lawsuits were ongoing. Alu-Fix contended that the obligation had been “there all alongside”, thus fighting Henry from commencing TVA lawsuits and nullifying the TVA adjudicator’s resolution.

The courtroom within the slay sided with Alu-Fix, finding that Henry had no longer been entitled to birth out the TVA old to complying with its instantaneous cost obligation – which became “there all alongside”. 


The judgment doesn’t fully shut the door on the graduation of TVA lawsuits old to the of an SGA. The opt famed that a TVA commenced old to the choice of an SGA will be enforced, if the SGA adjudicator within the slay finds that a right PLN became issued.

On the opposite hand, the courtroom’s finding that instantaneous cost obligations can come up old to an SGA resolution must silent sharpen employers’ and contractors’ minds when it involves commencing TVAs with out an exact atomize-and-rob defence.

The judgment is seemingly to act as a deterrent to companies initiating TVAs with out total confidence within the of an SGA, as compounding prices and cost obligations within the match of an unfavorable finding can hang calamitous results, as Henry’s downfall has proven.

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