Baldwins Industrial Services plc V Barr Limited

Baldwins Industrial Services plc V Barr Limited

The contract for the hire of a crane together with a driver was a "construction contract" on the basis that it was for the supply of plant and labour for use in construction operations on a building site


Technology and Construction Court

Her Honour Judge Frances Kirkham

6 December 2002


The hirer hired a crane from the hire company together with a driver to be used on a building site where the project was the construction of a football stadium. An accident took place as a result of which the crane was damaged. The hire company claimed from the hirer the cost of repairs to the crane.


The adjudicator rejected the hirer’s contentions that he lacked jurisdiction and awarded the hire company a specified sum. The hire company brought court proceedings to enforce the decision by way of summary judgement. The hirer did not challenge the hire company’s evidence that the crane and driver were to be used for construction work. The hirer instead contended that the adjudicator lacked jurisdiction because the contract was not a “construction contract” within the meaning of section 105(1)(e) of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 by reason of it not involving the carrying out of a “construction operation” or falling within the exception under section 105(2)(d) to what constituted such a contract by reason of it being for the (mere) delivery of plant to site without provision for installation.


Judge Kirkham rejected this contention and held that on the basis that the contract was for the supply of plant and labour in that the hirer intended to and did use the hire company’s driver to operate the crane and to conduct a building operation and an operation which formed an integral part of or was preparatory to or was for the rendering complete of work of construction, ie the hirer’s work in the stadium. The contract was therefore a “construction contract” within the meaning of section 104 which fell within the list of construction operations in section 105(1)(e) which formed an integral part of, were preparatory to or were for rendering complete the “construction operations” listed in the later words of section 105(1)(a), ie the construction, alteration, maintenance, extension, demolition or dismantling of buildings or structures forming or to form part of land.


Advice Note

This decision was the first to involve whether a hire contract for plant where the hire company provided the driver should be regarded as a “construction contract” where it was accepted that the driver was to carry out a “construction operation.”