The owner is driving us to a dispute!! Contract management and what to do about it. Part 6 of 6.

Having examined the tactics owners use to bend the rules on major projects in my last series of blogs, I’ll now look at how contractors can ensure they don’t suffer at the hands of unscrupulous owners, namely by using contract management.

Contractors can protect their interests by implementing a robust contract management procedure.

The contract management team should ensure that:

• The entire staff of the contractor benefits from a ‘knowledge sharing’ session, ensuring they are aware of the requirements of the contract and the owners’ obligations and responsibilities.

• Internal commercial procedures are implemented so that all required notices are raised in sufficient time and the entire project team is aware of this.

• Due care and attention is paid at the contract signing stage to avoid further documentation being “slipped” into the contract. A reconciliation should be performed between the bid and proposed contract documentation.

• Team members are appointed to regularly review revised drawing issues and RFI responses to identify changes.

• All reports are open and honest, reflecting the true situation on the project and resisting any influence by the owner to amend its’ positions.

• Commercial leverage is used to negotiate and agree extensions of time and changes before completion of the project, whilst avoiding delays at the end.

• All changes and claims are particularised to the required standard, to avoid delay by the owner.

Almost all disputes can be avoided or addressed by engaging a suitably qualified and experienced contract and claims management team to deliver the project with the correct blend of technical and legal knowledge and experience.

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