Those property managers and other colleagues that are working hard to register their clients’ buildings for the Building Safety Fund will soon find that the full application process is a whole different ball game.

Office building

Source: Shutterstock/ Vladitto

Part of the requirement will be the need to assess the facade(s) in question; provide a specification of remedial works; consider all relevant practical and regulatory aspects; seek costs via a tender process; and decide on the choice of contractor. And all of this at breakneck speed in order to hit the MHCLG deadline(s).

One aspect that must be dealt with from day one is the identification of how and where the design liability lies. The current insurance market conditions — in respect of design, cladding, facades, and fire safety — are challenging, to say the least.

The extent of professional indemnity insurance (PII) provided by those responsible for the design should be clarified as early as possible.

The extent — or not — of PII provided by consultants/contractors will to an extent dictate the pre-contract procurement route and form of contract.

In a lot of cases, the PII cover is aggregated, which presents its own limitations. If the contractors’ PII is insufficient, then the onus for design liability is likely to fall to the designer employed directly by the client. This assumes, of course, that there is one!

It follows that the design (and the associated PII cover) should be considered of vital importance.

There would be a palpable risk if a contractor under a design-and-build contract has insufficient cover to carry out the design and would be more onerous where the pre-tender design has been minimal.

It might be the case that a standard form of contract is a better bet with a full design developed pre-tender. Either way, seeking clarity now will avoid uncertainty later on.

Shaun Harris is managing director at Harris Associates