Abbreviations and Acronyms: To Use or Not?

A couple of days ago, I spent a frustrating couple of hours reading a FIDIC report.

Why was it frustrating?

It was not because the report was particularly difficult to understand. It was because it was littered with so many abbreviations and acronyms.

I have a lot of experience reading contract documents, but even for me, it was difficult to make sense of.

Sure, FIDIC placed footnotes in the document to explain what the abbreviations stood for. But, the fact that I had to keep checking these disrupted the 'flow' of reading and again, made it harder to understand.Read more

construction claims vs perfect claim

Construction Claims vs. The Perfect Claim E-Courses: What's the Difference?

Students often get in touch and ask:

What's the difference between The Perfect Claim and Construction Claims e-courses?

Both courses deal with the fundamentals of claims management, so what sets them apart?

The Perfect Claim

The Perfect Claim focuses on a specific case study. We take students through a claim for an extension of time and the payment of costs on a project where there were unforeseeable ground conditions.

Using the case study, we work to build the claim from A-Z.

During the course, we cover:

  • the case study, potential claims and notices
  • preparing the claim and delay analysis
  • cost calculations
  • compilation of and preliminaries to the claim
  • cause and effect
  • additional payment
  • entitlement
  • finalising the claim

Basically, everything you need to know to prepare a claim to a professional standard and ensure its success.

Construction Claims

The Construction Claims courses are more generic. They are suitable for both contractors and consultants because they deal with things from ‘both sides of the fence’.

The courses cover:

  • contract administration for claims
  • how to identify potential claims
  • claim strategy and management
  • cause and effect
  • an overview of delay analysis
  • entitlement
  • responses and determinations
  • writing compilation of claims and determinations

Graduates will be able to manage, prepare and respond to claims at a professional standard.

Which Course To Take?

Both courses will give you a full understanding of claims and how to manage them.

For engineers responsible for assessing claims and issuing responses, I tend to recommend the construction claims courses as the later modules deal with these aspects of claim management.

If you're not an engineer, I would choose the course that appeals to you the most. Check the module descriptions for each course. See which course you like the sound of and go with it. If you’re excited by the content, you’re much more likely to stick with your studies and graduate.

Sign up during Ramadan and be part of our Ramadan campaign: save 20% on all intermediate and premium e-courses and we'll donate 5% of every purchase to the UN Refugee Agency to support those affected by the recent earthquake in Syria and Turkey. Check out our Construction Claims and The Perfect Claim E-Courses today. 

fidic 2017 claims

FIDIC 2017 Claims: Andy Hewitt's Latest Release

I’m old enough to remember when the FIDIC 1999 contracts were published. If I remember correctly, it took a good 10 years for the industry to, not only adopt them, but to see their use as best practice on new projects.

At the time, I was lucky enough to work for a proactive company that sent me on a training course about the new contracts. They also bought copies of Brian Totterdil’s excellent book: FIDIC User’s Guide for all its contracts and claims consultants.

Fast-forward to the release of the FIDIC 2017 Editions...

It is now 6 years since FIDIC introduced the 2017 editions. The updated contracts aimed to improve, strengthen and clarify several aspects of the old editions.

Based on past trends, Read more


Variations: How do you price them when the tender price has been adjusted?

I was recently asked this question about variations:

We agreed the Tender Price during contract negotiations. How do we apply an adjustment to the tender price when pricing variations?

This often causes contention and the following is a typical scenario:

  • The contractor submits a tender accompanied by a priced bill of quantities for the tender price.
  • The Employer meets with the contractor. They negotiate a reduction and agree the contract sum at a lesser figure than the tender price.
  • The parties prepare the contract documents. The documents include a bill of quantities with the negotiated price reduction shown in the final summary.
  • There is no clear record of the form of the price reduction that was negotiated, i.e. was a target price agreed, was it a lump sum price reduction or a percentage price reduction?

Common Problems

The problems start when variations happen that are measured and evaluated at the contract rates and prices.

The contractor believes that the rates and prices should be those shown in the bills of quantities. The consultants/employer believe that the rates and prices should be reduced by the same percentage as the price reduction agreed during tender negotiations.

So what do you do?

It's critical to look at the intentions of the parties during the tender negotiations. This would usually take one of two forms:

  1. the parties agree a lump sum reduction or;
  2. the parties agree a percentage reduction.

Without records to clarify the situation, we must look at the signed contract documents to find out the original intentions. Particular attention needs to be paid to the bills of quantities here. The following are the likely scenarios and outcomes:

  1. The parties show the agreed reduction as a negative lump sum in the final summary of the bill of quantities. Here, I would consider that the price reduction was made on a one-off lump sum basis and the rates and prices should remain as shown in the bill of quantities.
  2. The parties have re-priced the bill of quantities with the rates reduced by the agreed percentage. Here, it is clear that the parties should use the adjusted rates and prices for the evaluation of variations.
  3. The parties show the agreed reduction as a percentage of the tender price in the final summary of the bill of quantities. This scenario is not clear-cut. I would suggest though, that if the rates and prices were not amended in the bill of quantities by the same percentage, then variations should not be subject to the same percentage reduction.

Supporting Legal Principles

The legal principle of contra preferentem, supports my opinion in the third scenario. Osborn’s Concise Law Dictionary offers the following definition:

The doctrine that the construction least favourable to the person putting forwards an instrument should be adopted against him

where “instrument” is defined as:

A formal legal document in writing.

This means that the drafter of the document had every opportunity to produce a clear and unambiguous document. If any mistakes, ambiguities, or conflicts exist in the document, they must be interpreted in the favour of the other party.

If the employer, as the party responsible for compiling the contract documents, did not adjust the contract rates and prices in the bill of quantities to reflect the percentage price reduction, the parties should regard the reduction as a lump sum and should use the unadjusted rates and prices to evaluate variations.


The lesson here is: those responsible for the preparation of the contract documents need to ensure that the principle and form of the negotiated reduction is very clearly shown in the bill of quantities. For more clarity, the parties could also include such details elsewhere in the contact documents.

Gain clarity on this and other complex contractual issues with our e-courses. Study with us today and take your career to the next level. 

legal construction

New Accreditation with Dubai Legal Affairs Department

We're pleased to announce that Claims Class is now an accredited training provider with The Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department (DLAD) under their Continuing Legal Professional Development programme.

Now if you're not a practicing Construction Lawyer this news may not be of much interest to you. But if you are, read on...

Continuing Legal Professional Development (CLPD)

As we're sure you're aware, all practicing legal professionals in Dubai must undertake 16 hours of training each year. 8 hours are mandatory courses set by the DLAD. The remaining 8 hours are elective. As an accredited training provider, Claims Class courses can now be taken to make up the elective 8 hours. And even better news, all our courses have been awarded the maximum of 4 points.

Ways to Achieve CLPD with Us

In addition to taking our e-courses on construction contracts and claims, we can work with law firms to provide in-house training to construction law teams. There's obvious upsides to this approach including: a personalised experience, the option for us to come in and work with you one-to-one and get into the nitty gritty of the challenges you face, plus the usual customisation when it comes to course content.

The Details

  • You'll now see Claims Class listed on the DLAD website under Accredited Activities.
  • Our provider code is BB80.
  • To book any course, just contact us directly and let us know you'll be using it as part of your CLPD. We'll help you through the booking process and ensure you have everything you need when you come to file your CLPD records at the end of the year.



The Difference Between Claim and Dispute Submissions - FIDIC Omissions

25 Tips to Help You Avoid Costly Claims and Disputes

Often people ask us, 'what are the key things we must do to avoid disputes and claims?'. Good news - we've compiled all of them into one handy document of top tips to avoid claims and disputes!
Read more

Why Choose A FIDIC Certified Trainer?

If you’ve followed Claims Class for a while, you’ll know the name Andy Hewitt, our newly certified FIDIC trainer!

Maybe Andy tutored you as a student on one our e-courses. Perhaps you’ve seen him speak at industry seminars and conferences. Or if you’re a bookworm, perhaps you’ve read some of his books on claims and FIDIC?

Not one to sit idle, Andy has recently added another string to his bow...

Read more

Claims class student online training

Online Training in 2022: 8 Reasons Why You Should Consider It...

We live in a high-tech world. So, is now the time to consider online training?

Fast Wi-Fi, sophisticated online learning platforms and a new-found comfort (thanks COVID?) with video conference tools have presented endless opportunities to learn online.

But why should you?

Read more

Should I Consider In-House Training?

We all know that ongoing development and training are important for the continued success and growth of business. Professional institutions insist their members continually improve their knowledge and enhance their understanding. There are a plethora of options available. Training can be external or held in-house, bespoke or standard, on any manner of subject or content.

Many organisations now offer courses and training to help bring the skills of your team up to a higher level. The e-courses offered by Claims Class and our workshops are an example. Many firms offer free seminars. There are one-day courses, distance learning, academic courses and many other options available.

One option you might not have considered is in-house training. But why should you think about bringing your training in-house? And what are the potential benefits? What are the risks? We take a look...

Read more

5 Tips for Success When Claiming for Variations

A question that I am often asked during CPD talks and claims training courses is “is it necessary to submit claims for a variation?”. Unfortunately, I am going to have to give a lawyer’s answer to this and say that “it depends”. There are however essential elements to a successful claim.

If the party responsible for administering the contract follows the procedure set out in most forms of contracts for instructing variations, then the answer is “no”, because the variation has been acknowledged and it will either be measured and evaluated as part of the remeasurement on a remeasureable contract or as a separate evaluation leading to a change of the contract price of a lump sum contract.Read more