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Streetwise Answers

Dear Streetwise 

On a recent contract, the Contractors Contract manager agreed to provide some minor items of hired in plant and I agreed that they could deduct the cost from the final account. 

They duly provided copy invoices, with which I am in full agreement, but the QS has also added a 20% mark up, justifying this by saying that as I mark up anything I provide, so can he.

Can he do this? Should he be doing this?

The QS has also said that he will only release my final payment if and when I send him a credit for the full amount, including the 20%. I have so far only sent him a credit for the nett amount + VAT.

The Contract Manager has confirmed over the phone today, that he agreed to provide the plant at nett cost, but he has since left the Contractor.

The 20% only amounts to a couple of hundred quid and the final payment is about £10K, but the phrase "thin end of the wedge" comes to mind.

The QS is a blustering, unpopular bully (you probably wont be too surprised to hear!), who I dont get on with. He had to agree in advance to some accelleration costs, to get us to accelerate at very short notice and now says that as I "held him to ransom, its payback time." I should point out that he passed the acceleration costs onto the client and didnt have to stand them himself!

Your opinion and advice will be most welcome, even if its not the answer I want!

Thanks in advance.


Control Systems Company

Hi Richard

Your problem highlights the importance of agreeing everything clearly in writing! That way the doubt that now surrounds who agreed what, would be removed.

You do not say "why" you agreed that they would provide the plant, or whether it was used for your original contract works, a specific variation, or indeed to facilitate the acceleration.

If the Contract's Manager is prepared to give you a Witness Statement that the plant was to be provided at nett cost then that is the best evidence you can get under the circumstances. If he isn't then it's your word against there's. 

In the overall scheme of things it might be simpler, and indeed more economical to accept that that particular battle isn't worth fighting and concentrate on the all important issue of getting paid.

As regards payment;

1 The QS does not need a credit note to value your works.

2 Your entitlement to payment stems from the contract, and the QS can't unilaterally decide "when" payment will be made.

3 If this is a "Construction Contract" as defined by the Construction Act then there are various provisions that should help you to get paid, but in oreder to find the solution, we need a few more facts.

The bottom line is that you are entitled to be paid and we can help you resolve that situation. Please take a look at our Entry Level Membership, and I will give you a call shortly.

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