We recently received a legal update from KDL Law which we found really interesting. The case was about some major works, where part way through the contractor had to leave due to ill health and another contractor had to be found. In addition to that more works were found to be needed. We have seen many projects where more work is required than initially thought. This is because you cant see everything until a) you have access and b) you take things apart. It really isn’t unusual unfortunately.
The Upper Tribunal (UT) considered if the landlord needed to re-consult leaseholders when the contractor was changed and on the consequential uplift in cost. The UT said that they saw “no reason why a fresh consultation was necessary.” The UT went on to say “that compliance with the consultation requirements gives no guarantee to the tenants about the eventual price and scope of the work. The consultation process requires the presentation of estimates and a choice between them; it does not require that estimates are not exceeded, as anyone who has engaged decorators or builders knows does happen. And the consultation process does not guarantee that the contractor whose estimate is chosen will be able to finish the job. The consultation requirement applies to a “set of works” (Phillips v Francis  EWCA Civ 1395), and if a contractor engaged to carry out a set of works is unable to complete it there is no requirement for a fresh consultation about the same set of works, even if the price is going to go up (as it normally will if the original contractor gave the cheapest quote), and even if the tenant’s contribution is going to rise by more than £250.
The same can be said where the work to be done turns out to be more than expected and more than the estimate covered – again, we all know that it happens.
There will be cases where the project takes an unexpected turn so that the new work cannot be said to be part of the same “set of works”. Whether that is the case will be a matter of fact and degree. If it is, fresh consultation is required, although where new work is found to be necessary while the original project is under way then a fresh consultation will often be impracticable and there will be an application for a dispensation.”
For the full legal update from KDL Law you can click on the following link:-