A Case Against Abbreviations and Acronyms

I have one simple piece of advice about using abbreviations and acronyms in claims, responses, contractual letters, reports, or in fact, any important communications on your project: Don't use them. At all. Ever! Let’s consider a real-life example of why this is so important. In my work as a consultant, I was recently appointed to prepare claims on behalf of the Contractor for an Extension of Time and additional payment on a large project. I began with an examination of the project records for evidence of what happened and to select certain documents to include in the claims as substantiation of the facts. I quickly realised I had a problem - the letters, meeting minutes, progress reports, etc. were difficult to understand, largely because they contained a number of abbreviations and acronyms. It was as if the documents were written in code. Responses to our requests for information from the Contractor were confusing for the same reason. Maybe the Contractor was encouraged to do this…

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The Golden Principles of FIDIC

We have all been presented with what appears to be a FIDIC form of contract, but when we study its contents or the Particular Conditions, we notice that it has been modified considerably: Clauses affecting the Contractor’s rights and remedies have been removed. Other clauses which are often punitive toward the Contractor have been added. The re-measurable Red Book has somehow become a lump-sum contract. Time frames have been altered - reduced for the Contractor and extended (or omitted entirely) for the Engineer and Employer. Changes and amendments are often poorly drafted and the final version contains ambiguities and conflicts. What we end up with no longer meets FIDIC’s stated purpose of ‘allocating risks fairly to the party that is best able to bear and control that risk’. Obviously, these changes are an attempt to minimise the Employer’s and Engineer’s responsibility and transfer risk onto the Contractor in the mistaken belief that this will bring about a lower contract price…

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Q&A: Entitlements Under the FIDIC White Book

The following questions, related to contractual issues arising from COVID-19, were posed during our fifteenth Construction Clinic, held in July 2020. Andy Hewitt's responses have been summarised from the original. The entire webinar may be viewed on-demand on YouTube. Question 1 Question: (Part 1 of 3) This question is in several parts. It is related to the FIDIC consultancy contract, which is the White Book, in terms of management of a consultant on his project. The first part of the question asks what is allowable and what is not. [Note: this blog post on the Practical Law Construction Blog has more information on the White Book.] Answer: The White Book is not one of the contracts that I deal with on a regular basis, so I had a quick look at it. There's absolutely no definition of cost in the White Book. So, if it concerns a variation to the consultant’s services, redesigning something, designing variations, possibly being deployed on an extended period because the Contractor didn't…

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A New Era for Claims Class

For nearly ten years, Claims Class has been offering training on construction contracts and claims to professionals around the world. Over the years, the catalogue of courses has expanded as has the delivery methods from in-person to online to live online. Some of these courses have also provided an alternative training route to ICCP membership for a number of claims practitioners. As Andy Hewitt moves toward retirement, Claims Class is also transitioning to a new era. Claims Class will now fall under Hewitt Decipher Partnership (HDP) and while Andy will still be taking an active role in training and course development, Managing Director of HDP and current ICCP President, Paul Gibbons, will be overseeing Claims Class.  

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Q&A: Delays, Variations, and Revised Programmes

The following questions were answered by Steering Committee member, Lee Sporle during Construction Clinic 11, recorded on 9 June 2020. The responses have been summarized from the original. The entire webinar may be viewed on-demand on YouTube. Question 1 Question: We have a project timeline from January 2020 to July 2020. By March 2020, the project was running behind schedule by 60 days and we had an extension for 30 days. Our revised programme was submitted with a cut-off date in March 2020 and the new completion date set to August 2020 instead of July 2020, and the Contractor recovered his 30 days delay. We have another claim event started just after the data date of March 2020. Which version of programme update do we use to analyse the delay using the TIA method: the revised programme, which the Contractor has delayed due to the recovery made, or the normal update on the baseline programme, the revised programme, which shows the real Contractor delay at this time? Answer: OK. So,…

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