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What Are the Main Legal Issues Affecting UK Builders in 2018?

There are a number of legal issues affecting UK builders this year, some of them involving the law while others concern regulatory and planning matters. Below is a general overview of the leading issues and how the construction industry is affected by them.


Post-Brexit immigration regulations could create a severe disruption in the British construction industry. For example, foreign-born workers accounted for 54% of London’s construction workforce in 2017. Employers and contractors should be concerned that many subcontractors hire European Economic Area workers for construction projects across the country, as these workers might not know that they need to apply for residency.


Unfortunately, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance did not stop on May 25, 2018, so efforts to comply with the new GDPR are necessary to avoid future legal issues.

Housebuilding and planning issues

Planning and building issues continue to be front and centre. In one case, a developer appealed against a permission refusal on the grounds that not enough affordable homes had been obtained.

Local development plans also need to be updated: a recent appeal decision for housing at Overton reveals that if local authorities don’t keep local development plans current and prove sufficient housing supply, they will lose planning appeals.

Another recent case, Peters v. London Borough of Haringey, provided much-needed clarity over how much power local authorities have to form LLPs, or limited liability partnerships, expressly to support the delivery of regeneration projects built in partnership with the private sector.

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Energy Issues

One prevailing energy issue is low-carbon heat. To meet its climate-change policy goals, the UK has to lower the carbon intensity of its heat production. It will be a huge challenge to decarbonise the country’s heat supply, but like other important parts of the overall energy transition, it also offers positive opportunities for developers, consumers, investors, and others.

Employment issues

There is a variety of employment issues affecting UK builders, many of which are of special interest to business owners and HR teams. They include but are not limited to:

  • Flexible benefits and compensation for discrimination
  • Constructive dismissal situations
  • Business schools and education
  • The new apprenticeship levy
  • The new route for entrepreneurial visas
  • Revisitation of professional misconduct
  • Gender pay gap investigations by the EHRC
  • Automation, the ‘robot tax’, and the future of work

Blockchain and smart contracts

Lawyers and bankers need to understand how blockchain, smart contracts, and distributed ledger technology will affect their professions. They are set to reshape the corporate lending environment across the globe and provide new roles for lawyers and bankers to play.

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