A paper presented to a TUNS/Revay seminar in 1990.
It has been modified only to suit a web presentation format.

Published here September, 2001.

Introduction | Claim Avoidance | Claim Identification | Sources of Dispute
Claim Notification | Reserving Rights | Record Keeping | Typical Set of Records
Focus on the Last Two Groups | Managing the Records | Useful Tips

Sources of Dispute

So typical sources of disputes and claims are worth noting. Theoretically, any clause in the contract could become the basis of a claim. Indeed, it is a wonder that contracts have not become much simpler on this account alone. However, we are governed by explicit law, expressed by a profession whose major product is more words! Generally, claims may be identified as falling into one of the following main groups:

  1. Changed conditions. Conditions different from that represented by the contract documents, or known at the time of bidding on the work, such as different soil conditions, or unknown obstructions etc.
  2. Additional work. Disputes over the pricing and timing of additional work required, or even whether a piece of identified work is in the contract or not. Beware particularly of omissions in the design documents, requiring changes to make a system work, especially if they appear in a subtle way through the shop-drawing review and approval process. This is always very embarrassing for the designers, who would like to see them incorporated for free! Beware also of changes requested by the users (as distinct from the owners) of the project. While the owner is seeking a Volkswagen, the users are invariably looking for a Cadillac!
  3. Delays. These refer to delays strictly beyond the contractor's control. They may be caused by the owner directly, or by one of his agents. A prime example is failure to give access to the site of the work in a timely way. Or equipment promised by the owner is not delivered on time. More frequently, working drawings are not provided in time to suit the work, or shop drawings are not reviewed in a timely manner.
  4. Contract time. Disputes over a contractor's request for time extension on account of changed conditions, required changes to the contract, or owner caused delays. Disputes may also arise over instructions to accelerate the work. Such instructions may not necessarily be explicit. For example, instructions to incorporate additional work without a corresponding time extension, especially if the work is on the critical path, is tantamount to an instruction to accelerate in order to meet the contract completion date.
Claim Identification  Claim Identification

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