Changes to Major Works program, is further consultation needed

Reedbase Ltd and another v Fattal

This case provided handy guidance for all parties involved in Major Works, as small variances do very often occur as works commence. Notably, due to the very nature of major works projects – they regularly take place over an extended period of time thus increasing the chances of small changes to the program and changes to materials being used.

The works in question concerned the replacement of roof tiles to the roof terraces of penthouse apartments. The consultation was completed, and the works started.

The method in which the tiles were laid was changed during the ongoing works. The estimates within the initial consultation did not refer to the new method. The tenants claimed that there had therefore not been proper consultation on the works and subsequently their contribution to the works should be limited.

During the appeal, it was clarified that there is not any set guidance on when a change would invalidate a stage in the consultation so much so that the consultation would need to be repeated. The court stated that it had considered whether the "protection to be afforded to the Tenants by the consultation process was likely to be materially assisted by obtaining fresh estimates."

In this case, it was found that the cost of variations was comparatively minimal and the leaseholders were fully aware of the situation, and therefore a repeat consultation was NOT required. Besides that, the extra time of re-tendering might prejudice other Tenants.

Laura Severn, Director at LMP Law, our 'legally blonde' author has picked out a few significant legal highlights that she believes will affect the industry in 2019 and beyond.