Savoye and Savoye Ltd v Spicers Ltd (TCC - 15.12.2014)
The contract for the installation of an automated conveyor system for the packaging up of office products in the distributors warehouse was a construction contract involving "construction operations" within the meaning of section 105(1) of the Construction Act
15 December, 2014
SAVOYE AND SAVOYE LTD v SPICERS LTD
Technology and Construction Court
15th December 2014
In holding that the conveyor system involved "construction operations", Akenhead stated that the principal issue for determination was whether the system was one “forming or to form part of the land” within the meaning of section 105(1) of the Construction Act. The judge in coming to that conclusion set out various propositions to assist in making such determinations.
Whether an object is a fixture or part of the land is primarily a question of fact and degree with the result that an object (i) must be annexed or affixed to the land actually or in effect to be a fixture and (ii) can be a fixture or form part of the land even if it (merely) rests on the land under its own weight without mechanical or similar fixings.
As to whether objects or installations can be said to form part of the land (i) One can and should have regard to the purpose of the object or installation being in or on the land or building (ii) Purpose is to be determined objectively and not by reference simply to what the party who brought it onto or installed it on the site thought or thinks (iii) It is necessary to look at the nature and type of object or installation, consider how it would be or would be intended to be installed and used and consider the context, objectively established and (iv) If the object or system in question was installed to enhance the value and utility of the premises to and in which it was annexed, that is a strong pointer to it forming part of the land.
As to whether machinery or equipment placed or installed on land or within buildings, particularly if it is all part of one system, can be said to form part of the land (i) One should have regard to the installation as a whole, rather than each individual element on its own (ii) The fact that substantial and heavy pieces are more readily removable than others is not in itself determinative that the installation as a whole does not form part of the land and (iii) Machinery and plant can be structures, works (including industrial plant) and fittings within the context of sections 105(1)(a) to (c).