Justice - Avoiding Disputes and Claims

How To Avoid Disputes From the Outset

Hewitt Decipher Partnership recently presented a webinar on international arbitration. Panel members included a barrister, an arbitrator and a solicitor. They were joined by HDP employees who provide expert advice to legal professionals working on construction disputes. The aim was to look at how to avoid claims.

Whilst these professionals earn fees from disputes, the overwhelming consensus was that the best way to deal with disputes is to not have them in the first place.

So, what can we do to avoid disputes right from the start of the project?

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Increases in Material & Other Costs

The consultancy side of our business has recently received enquiries along the lines of the following. “We have come to the end of our project and are facing a huge loss due to increases in the cost of materials and shipping and because of measures that we have had to adopt to control COVID-19. What can we do?”

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interim claims

Interim Claims

How To Deal With Them

One of our Claims Class students asked for some advice on interim claims. It is a topic that often crops up, so I thought that readers of this blog might also benefit from some practical advice.

The principles discussed here are appropriate to many forms of construction contracts. However, for the purpose of this article I shall use the 1999 FIDIC contracts as an example.

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FIDIC 2017 Notices

A guide to the requirements, content and composition of notices under the FIDIC 2017 Red, Yellow and Silver books

Some of the biggest mistakes that contractors make when it comes to claims under FIDIC 2017 relate to notices. Such failures include failure to:

  • Give notices when obliged to do so by the contract.
  • Give notices within the time frames specified in the contract.
  • Properly identify communications as notices.
  • Record the necessary information within notices.
  • Cite the contractual clause under which the notice is given.
  • Address and/or copy the notice to the correct party.
  • Deliver to the notice to the place specified in the contract.
  • Deliver to the notice by the means of communication specified in the contract.

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Claims class student online training

Claims Class Helps Student Secure US$1 Million

This month I am going to allow myself to pat myself on the back, because of a success story from a recent Claims Class student.

A gentleman from an African country contacted me to discuss enrolling on one of our claims courses. He had found out about Claims Class after purchasing a copy of my Book FIDIC 1999 Notices. This is what he told me.

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Lump Sum Cash Contract

What is Included in 'Lump Sum'?

A simple matter that often causes confusion is exactly what a lump-sum price includes.

Take a typical contract designed by the employer. The contractor is required under the contract to provide the works defined on the drawings and in the specification. In other words, the drawings show the extent and the configuration of the design. The specification describes the composition and quality of the work. Thus, it is clear that the lump-sum requires the contractor to provide whatever is included in the drawings and specification.

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The Difference Between Claim and Dispute Submissions - FIDIC Omissions

The Difference Between A Claim to the Engineer & A Claim in Arbitration?

A student recently asked, "is there any difference between a claim submitted to the Engineer and one submitted for arbitration?" My response was along the lines of “Yes, there frequently is, but there shouldn’t be”.

The Scenario:

Let me explain why by describing a very frequent scenario related to claims.

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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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