Construction costs are escalating. Under existing contracts, an employer will not want to pay more for the works. But forcing a contractor to perform works that are unprofitable or causing a massive loss is unlikely to be in the best interests of the project. It may result in the insolvency of the contractor forcing the employer to abandon the contract or re-let it, probably at a premium. Is a mechanism for cost adjustment, such as FIDIC 1999 Sub-Clause 13.8 [Adjustments for Changes in Costs], an answer?
Could provisions in FIDIC contracts giving relief for ‘Force Majeure’ or ‘Exceptional Events’ provide relief to contractors suffering as a result of price escalation? It is well documented that construction and engineering projects around the globe are being affected by extreme and sometimes unprecedented price escalation. This is for many reasons including the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.
Up until the spring of 2020, a FIDIC 1999 Sub-Clause 13.7 [Adjustments for Changes in Legislation] claim was just one of many issues to be resolved, for example, in a delay and disruption claim or a Cost claim. However, the focus it receives in the context of Covid-19 is drastically different. Many in the industry are using the changes in legislation provision to seek financial compensation in a situation that would otherwise potentially only attract an extension of time. Awarding Cost for Covid-19 events regardless of the circumstances may seem to some (Contractors mostly, though there are Employers and Engineers who agree) like the appropriate thing to do, but whether it is correct according to the Contract is a different question.
El efecto del coronavirus en la construcción es amplio y desconocido, en particular, en cómo evaluar el tiempo y el dinero perdido. Por fortuna, los contratos FIDIC proveen varias opciones a las Partes para manejar riesgos y proteger derechos. Este artículo analiza cómo se trataría la pandemia del Covid-19 bajo el Contrato de Construcción de Obras FIDIC 2010 armonizado por el Banco Mundial en español.
Covid-19 has had huge consequences around the world and unfortunately
Clause 8 contains all the fundamental provisions relating to the start of the Works, the Time for Completion, delays and the entitlement of the Contractor to an extension of time and of the Employer to delay damages, and finally the circumstances in which a suspension of the Works can occur and the implications for the Parties.
Click through to read Corbett & Co.'s helpful commentary on FIDIC Red Book 1999 book - Clause 7
FIDIC’s 2017 editions introduced a new Claims management system in clause 20 that channels Claims through two very different procedures. One of them is very simple and involves almost no risk whereas the other will require investment of significant project resources, will take the parties a considerable amount of time to resolve and carries fatal consequences if not followed properly. It has therefore become a priority for anyone handling this Claims management system to understand how clause 20.1 sorts the different types of Claims and to recognise that the classification scheme is not as straightforward as the wording of the Contract suggests, as explored in this article.
Clause 14 deals with all aspects of payment. It also deals with the Statement at Completion, the Final Payment Certificate, Discharge and Cessation of the Employer’s Liability. The Clause provides that this is a re-measurement contract and that the quantities stated in the Bill of Quantities are estimated. There is provision for an advance payment to be made to the Contract. Applications for Interim Payment Certificates are made monthly and these must be supported by documents and a report on progress. Unless the amount assessed is less than the minimum amount set out in the Appendix to Tender, the Engineer has 28 days to issue an Interim Payment Certificate, which states the amount the Engineer fairly determines to be due. The Employer thereafter has an obligation to pay the amount certified, in the currencies named in the Appendix to Tender. In the event that payment is not received the Contractor can claim financing charges compounded monthly. Fifty per cent of the retention monies are paid when the Taking-Over Certificate is issued. Where there are Sections then a proportion is paid. The balance of retention is paid on the expiry of the latest Defects Notification Period or, where there are Sections, a proportion at the expiry of the Defects Notification Period for that Section. Within 84 days of receiving the Taking-Over Certificate the Contractor submits a Statement at Completion. This must include an estimate of all sums which the Contractor considers due. Within 56 days of receiving a Performance Certificate, the Contractor submits a Final Statement. The Contractor must also submit with the Final Statement a written discharge which confirms that the total of the Final Statement represents full and final settlement of all moneys due. The Engineer then issues to the Employer a Final Payment Certificate. The Contract states that the Employer shall have no liability to the Contractor except to the extent that the Contractor has included an amount expressly for that matter in the Final Statement and also the Statement at Completion.
Clause 3 deals with the duties and obligations of the Engineer and his assistants. Sub-Clause 3.1 deals with the role and duties of the Engineer. The Engineer is deemed to act for the Employer. The Engineer has no authority to relieve the Contractor of his duties, obligations or responsibilities under the Contract; nor can the Engineer amend the Contract. Under Sub-Clause 3.2 the Engineer can delegate authority to any assistants; however, the Engineer cannot delegate the responsibility to make Determinations. Under Sub-Clause 3.3 the Engineer may issue instructions or modified Drawings at any time, which are necessary for the execution of the Works. If the instruction constitutes a Variation, then it is dealt with under Clause 13 [Variations and Adjustments]. The Contractor is required to comply with any instruction given by the Engineer or delegated assistant. Sub-Clause 3.4 deals with the replacement of the Engineer. The Employer must not replace the Engineer with someone against whom the Contractor raises reasonable objection. Sub-Clause 3.5 deals with Determinations. When making a Determination the Engineer should consult with each of the Parties and, if agreement cannot be reached, make a fair determination in accordance with the Contract, taking due regard of all relevant circumstances. Both Parties are required to give effect to any Determination unless, or until, it is revised under Sub-Clause 20.1 [Claims, Disputes and Arbitration].
In London last week, FIDIC launched its Second Editions of the Red, Yellow and Silver Books. They are big, weighing in at almost a kilo each. The general conditions cover 106 pages with more than 50,000 words, over 50% longer than the 1999 forms. Many improvements have been made, addressing issues that have emerged since 1999. Fans of Dispute Boards will be pleased to see that all three books now have standing boards with more emphasis on dispute avoidance; and that appointment of DB members and enforcement of their decisions have been made easier. Disputes and Arbitration are now dealt with in a separate chapter 21. Here are the most interesting changes to the Yellow Book.
Clause 19 deals with two distinct events: (1) Force Majeure; and (2) release from performance under the law. Force Majeure is often narrowly defined under the laws of many countries; however, within the FIDIC 1999 forms of contract it has a much broader meaning. The terminology used by FIDIC has therefore sometimes been criticized as being misleading.
Sub-Clause 13.1 deals with the right of the Engineer to vary the Contract. This right can be exercised at any time up to the issue of the Taking-Over Certificate. Sub-Clause 13.2 deals with value engineering and permits the Contractor to propose a change which will benefit the Employer. The proposal is prepared at the cost of the Contractor, who designs the change. Sub-Clause 13.3 deals with the procedure prior to the Engineer instructing a variation. The Engineer may request a proposal from the Contractor. However, while the Contractor is preparing the proposal it must proceed with the works. Sub-Clause 13.4 deals with payment in applicable currencies. Sub-Clause 13.5 deals with Provisional Sums and ought to be read with Sub-Clause 188.8.131.52 which defines Provisional Sum as follows:- “a sum (if any) which is specified in the Contract as a provisional sum, for the execution of any part of the Works or for the supply of Plant, Materials or services under Sub-Clause 13.5 [Provisional Sums].” The Provisional Sum can only be used where there is an Engineer’s instruction and the Contractor receives payment for only the work done to which the Provisional Sum relates. Sub-Clause 13.6 deals with daywork. This is where work of a minor or incidental nature is to be carried out. The work is then valued in accordance with the Daywork Schedule in the Contract or if there is no Daywork Schedule then the alternative method of payment as prescribed in the Contract. Sub-Clause 13.7 deals with the Cost arising from changes in the Laws of the Country which affect the Contractor in performance of his obligations under the Contract. Where the Contractor suffers delay or additional Cost then it must give notice under Sub-Clause 20.1 of the Contract. Sub-Clause 13.8 deals with adjustments for changes in cost. This Sub-Clause only applies where the “table of adjustment data” included in the Appendix to Tender has been completed. If the Sub-Clause does apply then the amounts payable to the Contractor for rises and fall in the cost of the Works are adjusted by a formula.
Clause 1 sets out many of the boilerplate clauses within the Contract and provides a number of definitions which are used thereafter. The Clause has been substantially changed from the Red Book 4th edn with a raft of new clauses added. Sub-Clause 1.3 deals with communications and states that approvals, certificates, consents and determinations shall not be unreasonable withheld or delayed. The assignment provisions in Sub-Clause 1.7 have now changed so that restriction on assignment applies to both the Contractor and Employer. Delayed Drawings and Instructions is dealt with at Sub-Clause 1.9. This was previously dealt with at Clause 6.4 of the Red Book 4th edn and it is unclear why such an important provision has now been rolled up in the General Provisions clause.
Read the full article here.