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The Client Wants To Reduce My Extension Of Time!

In my experience, when confronted with a claim for extension of time (EOT), Clients (and that includes architects and engineers) typically pursue any defence possible to totally negate or reduce the contractors entitlement. One matter that Clients frequently consider is the amount of work omitted through variations / omissions to the Contract. Put simply the Client considers that any time saved for not having to complete the omitted work, should be deducted from any EOT entitlement or to even reduce the original Contract period.

Issues to Consider

Well the main issues to be considered are: a) can the client reduce the original contract period? b) can the client reduce an already awarded EOT? c) can the client consider omitted work when evaluating a future EOT award?

How dare he, I hear all you Contractors say. Can he do this?

Well, as ever, it depends on the rules of the game that you have agreed i.e. the Contract that exists between you. Some Contracts deal specifically with these issues, whereas others are silent.

What does the Contract say?

The JCT suite of contracts typically state that the contract completion date cannot be fixed to a date earlier than that set out within the contract. But further state that, if practical completion is planned to occur after the completion date, then the client can consider the omitted work when setting a new and revised completion date. Other standard forms of contracts state that the client can’t reduce the original contract period to reflect the omitted work, but can, and in some instances cannot, reduce the extension of time already granted. But most state that when considering a further EOT, the client can take account of omitted work.

Well as I have said, it depends on the exact wording of the Contract, which should be examined thoroughly. But in “general”, I would state that in the absence of any express wording in the contract, that the client cannot reduce the contract period nor reduce an EOT already awarded. But when the client is considering awarding any future EOT, he can take account of all known circumstances and consider the omitted work, when awarding this further extension of time.

That’s it then? Well almost.

In my opinion, the client will have to demonstrate that the omitted work did in fact reduce the duration of work on site. Put simply, he will have to demonstrate cause and effect and prove that the omitted work was in fact critical, i.e. that it fell on the critical path of the project and because of its omission this has reduced the time required on site, to complete the project. Easy, I hear you say!

If you require any advice with this issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.