In the present case, the court examined an appeal by the owner, Jean-François Clin. Clin hired Walter Lilly & Co., who specializes in renovating prime residential real estate, to carry out extensive demolition and reconstruction work on two neighboring homes he owned in Kensington and Chelsea, a wildlife sanctuary. The work was based on a 2005 JCT construction contract which included additional revisions from the 2009 edition of the standard contract as well as tailor-made changes.

The contractor continued the agreed work until it received a letter from the local council on July 17, 2013 stating that the planned work would constitute “significant demolition” that would require a Conservation Area (CAC) permit. The work was eventually put on hold for more than a year until Clin received the necessary approval.

Clin and Walter Lilly have argued who is responsible for delaying the work. At the center of Clin’s case was his claim that CAC was not “legally required” to carry out the work.

However, earlier in the litigation, the High Court ruled that the work that Walter Lilly had been hired to carry out was demolition work that required a CAC. The judge believed that Clin had an implicit contractual obligation to the contractors to use all reasonable care to obtain such approvals and that he had violated this implicit contractual term.

The appeals court has now confirmed this decision and instructed Clin to bear Walter Lilly’s costs for the appeal. Pinsent Masons’s Mark Harris, Lucy O’Dwyer and Tori Graney acted for Walter Lilly in the case.

Harris said, “The case reinforces the need for the parties to clearly define and assign responsibility for all risk in their contract. Here we looked at the risk to the planning and related consents, many of which had assumed they with the employer and not with the contractor are under a JCT standard form of the construction contract. “

O’Dwyer said: “While the court found in the first instance that the construction contract imposing a duty on Mr. Clin included a time limit, the limits of that duty were not absolute and enabled him to argue about the need for consent and consent Ultimately, the appellate court found that the court of first instance had rightly found that Mr. Clin required sanctuary approval for the proposed work and that his delay in obtaining approval was a violation of the The resulting delay in the project resulting from Mr. Clin’s failure to obtain consent entitles Walter Lilly to extend the deadline and incur additional costs. “

In rejecting Clin’s appeal, the appellate court found in particular that the planning authorities or courts were not legally obliged to examine whether the demolition had significant and / or significant effects on the “character and appearance” of the reserve. in determining whether or not CAC is required.

This view was supported by the 1997 case law in which the appellate court judges said “affirms (if not dictated) the fundamental conclusion that assessing whether or not work equals demolition is a quantitative exercise”. The court stated that it does not need to include “a qualitative exercise relating to the character and appearance of the nature reserve in question”.

Two of Clin’s three grounds of appeal challenged the High Court’s findings that the work he commissioned Walter Lilly to do was “demolition” within the meaning of conservation area planning legislation. Section 74 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 prohibits the demolition of buildings in nature reserves without a CAC. However, the appeals court said it was “not convinced” that there was “an appropriate basis for interference” in the judge’s findings in this regard.

Pinsent Masons’ Tori Graney said that while the ruling favored Walter Lilly in this case, the decisions of both the High Court and the Court of Appeal made it clear that the responsibility for obtaining the building permit does not always rest with an employer or owner Contractors must ensure that the associated risk is explicitly assigned under the contract.