Which comes first, the dispute or the claim? Typically, the dispute comes
first, principally because the paper work invariably falls behind the progress
of the work.
Progress payments are late. Changes cannot be processed without agreement
on prices. Sub-contractor prices are difficult to obtain, especially if the
real cost is out of all proportion to the work required. Documentation for regulatory
approvals have a notorious habit of getting bogged down somewhere. Even progress
meeting minutes, wherein everyone agreed to do certain things in a certain sequence,
somehow fail to appear until the following meeting, when it is all over!
So what starts out as a minor issue, something that might be resolved by early
agreement at the time of the work, gradually grows out of all proportion and
becomes the basis for a formal claim. In some cases, a claim is filed by a contractor
with little or no forewarning, and this itself gives rise to a dispute.
Either way, a claim should be made only after careful consideration, in a formal
and objective manner, on precisely what contractual grounds, how much money is
being sought and how that sum is arrived at, and the corresponding time extension
to the contract, if appropriate.
That's quite a tall order!