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  • Writer's picturePeter Searle

Co-operation and collaboration of specialist contractors

Using a sports team as an analogy, most people would expect that when a group of people come together to play as a team, there are some initial issues until they get to know each other. The process will be speeded up if there is engaging leadership from the coach and manager. As time progresses, the team members will start to become a cohesive force if they follow the rules and are motivated by the leader, eventually becoming formidable winners.

Construction projects are similar, the specialist subcontractors are the team members and the main-contractor and client the coach and manager. The contract provides the rules and the main contractor and client the leadership to focus the team members. Each project is like starting a team from scratch so there are going to be issues if all contractors do not follow the rules exactly, or if the rules are ambiguous. Furthermore, if the client and main contractor do not recognise that the formation of the new construction team requires engaging leadership, then a project will be beset with issues.

To avoid just this situation, serial clients have “partnering or framework” arrangements with main-contractors and main contractors have robust supply chains or preferred supplier lists, PSL’s to minimise the number of sub-contractor combinations on a new project. This way every project is not started from scratch and the outcome is invariably more favourable than when everyone is starting from scratch each time.

However, not all clients and main-contractors recognise the potential issues and they rely upon the rules of the contract being followed. If these are poorly drafted or the leadership is weak then disruption for the subcontractors will ensure to varying degrees. To recover your costs caused by the disruption there is a protocol which has been developed by the Society of Construction Lawyers. To gather the information to be able to make a claim using the protocol can be time consuming, but we have developed an app which can be used on a mobile phone and which will help set you on the path to recover the costs incurred if you are unfortunate enough to become involved in a “project from hell”.

For a demonstration of the app, or to find out more, please look at the website

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