final account disputes

Why do Final Accounts lead to Disputes?

I recently provided advice on a dispute of US$250M. This sum includes variations, prolongation costs, acceleration costs, disruption costs and delay penalties. The dispute crystalised when the contractor submitted his final account. This is a familiar occurrence. In fact, a large proportion of disputes occur when the project is either nearing or after completion.

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Construction contract FIDIC 2017 notice of claim

How Does FIDIC 2017 Affect Claims?

I guess like many of you, I have not had the opportunity to examine the 2017 editions of the FIDIC contracts in much detail, because as yet, I have not come across any projects that are using them. This situation will, however, gradually change. As it does, we will need to know what has changed and how it has changed. As such projects reach final account stage there will undoubtedly be claims to resolve and disputes to settle. I have recently been doing research for a forthcoming book, so thought it would be worthwhile to highlight the changes from a claims perspective.

Employer's Claims

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Progress Updates – Fact or Fiction?

Contractors often shoot themselves in the foot when preparing progress updates for the employer’s team. Many times we see months worth of updates which present a rose-tinted view of project progress.

Whilst it is tempting to keep reporting good news month-on-month, be wary. A less than competent consultant may believe such reports because good news will not involve them in additional and troublesome work. However, you could be causing problems for yourself further down the line.

Problems frequently arise when the contractor needs to submit a claim for an extension of time. It becomes very difficult for him to subsequently tell the employer’s team: “I know we kept telling you that there was no delay to the completion date, but actually there is and it’s not our fault, so please can I have an extension of time.

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FIDIC Notices

FIDIC 1999 Notices - Andy Hewitt's Latest Book

At the end of 2019 I was working with a contractor-client on several extension of time and additional cost claims. I needed to demonstrate that the contractor had complied with the contractual notice provisions in FIDIC.

This client had sent some notices. In most cases though, these didn’t comply with the contract requirements. In many cases they were completely meaningless as notices.

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Letters Abbreviations

When Should You Use Abbreviations and Acronyms?

I have one piece of simple advice about using abbreviations and acronyms. Whether in claims, responses, contractual letters, reports or any important communications on your project:

Do not use them….

at all…

ever!

Let’s look at a real-life example of why this is so important.

Our consultancy business, Hewitt Decipher Partnership, was recently appointed by a contractor. Our job was to prepare claims on behalf of the contractor for an extension of time and additional payment on a large project.

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Payment for Work Not in Accordance with the Contract

A former Claims Class student asked my advice on a matter which I thought would be an interesting case study to share. The Contract conditions are FIDIC and the question around non-payment of work which was not in accordance with the contract.

Background

Each month the Engineer makes deductions in the payment certificate for Non-Conformance Reports under Sub-Clause 14.6 (Issue of Interim Payment Certificates), sub-paragraphs (a) & (b).

The Contractor does not contest the Non-Conformance Reports. They state that the defects will be rectified. A problem being that this is likely to take some time to achieve.

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Avoid Construction Disputes

How Education and Training Avoids Disputes

I don't usually have much to say about education and training or attempt to promote our Claims Class courses through our blogs. But, this month I am going to make an exception and for good reason. Recent reports demonstrate that education and training will avoid time-consuming and costly construction disputes.

HKA’s report, Claims and Dispute Causation – a Global Market Sector Analysis and ARCADIS’s Global Construction Disputes Report 2019 are both pretty scathing. Both point to a lack level of knowledge exhibit when it comes down to contractual matters and claims.

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COVID-19 Suspension

COVID-19: Options for Construction Parties - Suspension & Termination?

In my last blog, I discussed the effects of COVID-19 and major disruption under the FIDIC Red and Yellow Books. Particularly whether contractors are entitled to claim for an extension of time and/or costs. But what other options are available, and what do the contracts say about suspension or termination?

My advice was just a few weeks ago. At that time, some contractors were anticipating delays. Firstly caused by supply chain problems associated with plant, goods or materials sourced from China. Secondly by the travel restrictions which were in place. My thoughts were that,  the Contractor will be entitled to an extension of time provided he can demonstrate delay to the Time for Completion and/or the incurrence of Cost. He may also be entitled to claim for additional payment for Cost incurred.

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unforeseeable site conditions and force majeure - coronavirus

Coronavirus and Construction - Is the Contractor Entitled to Claim?

 

The global hot topic this month is definitely the coronavirus. It's affecting many construction projects.  Labour, materials, plant or equipment are coming from China (or other affected countries) and supply has been delayed. So what do you do if you're a contractor in this situation? Are you entitled to make a claim?

Well...it depends on your particular contract, but possibly.

I know that this is a bit of a lawyer’s answer, but it really does depend on several things. Let’s however, have a look at what the FIDIC Red and Yellow Books, 1999 Editions, have to say on the subject.Read more


FIDIC Amendments and The Golden Principles

We have all seen it. We receive what we assume is a FIDIC form of contract. But when we examine its contents or the Particular Conditions, we find it has been subject to amendments and changed considerably. FIDIC amendments we often see include:

  • Clauses struck out, usually those that give the contractor rights and remedies.
  • New clauses appear which are often punitive toward the contractor.
  • The remeasurable Red Book changes to a lump-sum contract.
  • Time-frames may have been reduced for the Contractor’s actions and extended. Alternatively, time-frames vanish altogether for the Engineer and Employer’s obligations.

Added to this, the changes and amendments are often poorly drafted and the final version contains ambiguities and conflicts.

So what we end up with is not what FIDIC intended. In short, it does not do what it says on the tin.

Employers and Engineer’s make these changes in an attempt toRead more