Construction & Property Risks

At Fenchurch Law, we understand the inherent complexity of construction projects, the variety of risks involved, and the role played by insurance in the allocation and management of risk exposures. Different risks are catered for by different types of insurance, which can in itself give rise to frequent overlaps, gaps in cover, and the potential for coverage disputes.

At Fenchurch Law, we understand the inherent complexity of construction projects, the variety of risks involved, and the role played by insurance in the allocation and management of risk exposures. We also understand the risks facing property owners and that property damage frequently leads to losses other than the cost of repairing the damage, giving rise to disputes about the extent to which those additional losses can be recovered from insurers or other third parties.

Our Construction & Property Risks practice area is led by Fenchurch Law Partner Joanna Grant. Joanna and her team of specialist solicitors represent property owners, business owners, employers, main contractors, sub-contractors, consultants, developers, local authorities, financial institutions, engineers, architects, quantity surveyors and all others involved in property and in the domestic and international commercial construction industry.

Our specialist solicitors have extensive experience acting for policyholders in relation to insurance coverage disputes under a broad range of risks and policy types, including:

  • Building cladding
  • Building defects
  • Business Interruption
  • Commercial buildings
  • Construction All Risks
  • Contract Works
  • Delay in Start Up
  • Defective and contaminated products
  • Employer’s Liability
  • Environmental Liability
  • Fire safety issues
  • Latent Defects
  • Plant & Machinery
  • Pollution, Contamination and Environmental Liability
  • Products Liability
  • Professional Indemnity
  • Project Policies
  • Property damage
  • Public Liability
  • Real Estate

On the construction side, our team regularly deals with insurance disputes involving “damage vs defect” issues, “design vs workmanship” issues, and the proper interpretation of defects exclusions (particularly the “DE” and “LEG” standard forms).

On the property side, fire safety defects have, unsurprisingly, been a core part of our practice since Grenfell, and we have – successfully – advised many owners and leaseholders of multi-story buildings on their claims against insurers for the cost of replacing combustible cladding, as well as related compartmentation defects.

Business interruption claims have always been a core part of our practice, from acting on the largest insured loss arising from the London Riots in 2011 through to claims relating to the Yellow Vest protests in Paris in 2018. With the advent of Covid-19, we have been advising many clients – particularly in the hospitality, leisure and travel sectors – on their business interruption claims. Although the judgment in the FCA test case has brought certainty for some policyholders, there are a number of areas of continuing uncertainty.  One area in particular where further clarity is needed is in relation to the extent of cover for loss of rent and we are advising a number of global businesses on their potential recovery for such losses.

At the same time, fires, floods and property damage routinely continue to affect SME owner-managed companies in the UK and abroad, and we are acutely conscious that making a recovery from insurers can be essential to the survival of their business. In relation to these claims, in particular, we pride ourselves on being able to make a real difference for the policyholder and achieving our purpose of ‘levelling the playingfield’.

When serious events happen, some clients prefer to have us involved from the very start, and we provide strategic advice before a claim under a policy is made to minimise the risk of the insurer disputing cover, including providing strategic advice about how to best present claims in order to maximise policy coverage and speed up the settlement process.

Where a claim has already been declined in full or in part, our specialist insurance lawyers will initially assess the situation and provide advice on the underlying merits of a claim against the insurer. Where required, our solicitors can then provide guidance as to how best to resolve any coverage dispute. If it becomes necessary, we will then issue proceedings to compel the insurer to pay the claim.

At whatever stage of a case Fenchurch Law becomes involved, we always work proactively with all parties involved in order to achieve the most appropriate and fair solution to coverage disputes as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. We work particularly closely and collaboratively with insurance brokers, combining our legal skills with their commercial leverage to achieve the best possible outcome for every one of our clients.

Call us on +44 (020) 3058 3070

Relevant Construction & Property Risk case studies

Fenchurch Law Construction Risks

Construction Risks

Advising a construction and engineering joint venture on the interpretation of a defect exclusion clause under a project CAR policy following the occurrence of damage during the construction of an…

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See all case studies

Meet the Construction & Property Risks Team

Relevant Construction & Property Risks News

Webinar – Too Hot to Handle – a cautionary tale about Hot Works Conditions

  Agenda Hot Works Conditions are a staple of contractors’ public liability policies. They require certain precautions to be taken before, during and after the carrying out of Hot Work…

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Archer v Ace (or, The Demise Of LEG3?)

Introduction In the London Market there is, by and large, a common understanding about how LEG3 and the other defects exclusions operate, and what they are intended to do. That doesn’t mean that…

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Covid “Catastrophe” Triggers BI Reinsurance

The first UK court ruling on the reinsurance of Covid-19 losses has confirmed coverage under excess of loss policies taken out by Covéa Insurance plc (“Covéa”) and Markel International Insurance Co…

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