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It’s Wise Up Wednesday! The Three Essentials To Entitlement

We are already into the second month of the year and we need to stay  focused on doing the right things in our business, because the future isn’t certain, and no-one truly knows what is around the corner.

That’s why we have put together our Streetwise Wise Up Wednesday Guides to give you a quick burst of stuff that will help you in your business life.

Sometimes quirky, sometimes hard hitting, but always guaranteed to make you think and take no more than 2 minutes to read.

The Three Essentials To Entitlement!

Max Abrahamson – A very wise man and eminent Construction Arbitrator once said that Specialist Contractors only need three things to secure your entitlements;

RECORDS, RECORDS and RECORDS

Whether it’s recovering the cost effects of variations or delays you may need to be able to prove to a third party that your version of events is correct and your assessment is fair and reasonable.

And, please trust me on this, you will need those records!

Keeping good written and photographic records is a fundamental issue, the importance of which cannot be overstated.

Regardless of the size and value of the work, good records are essential in order to protect yourself. The scale and complexity of the work may dictate how much time and effort you need to put in, but even the most basic records can offer you protection.

Almost all construction disputes deal with events that occurred weeks, months or even years in the past. Your works may even be covered up, so cannot easily to be inspected at a later date.

Any records that you make at the time will be far more valuable as evidence than your memory of what happened, particularly if you can show that they have been issued to the other party at the time the events took place.

Check what the contract says about records and make sure you comply. It is not uncommon for a failure to submit records to be used as an excuse to reduce or withhold payment or blame you for delays that are not of your making.

In addition to the records that you are required to keep contractually, it is a good idea to maintain good records for your own purposes. Good records will assist you in preparing claims for delays or additional work and also in rejecting any claims made against you for delays or damage.

Take careful note of the date and time, the name of individual, and the matters discussed for every telephone conversation you have regarding your works.

Site meetings, formal or informal are a great way for the Contractor to stitch you up. Keep your own record of what is discussed and dispute any minutes with which you disagree and ensure that the minute is changed or your objection noted. In fact make sure you definitely get minutes!

Here are my top tips about records:

  • Verbal instructions – don’t act on verbal instructions and always confirm them back in writing to the Contractor.
  • Access dates – make sure you can actually get at the various parts of the job when you are supposed to and tell the Contractor when and why if you can’t.
  • Delays – notify the Contractor about everything that holds you up or interrupts the regular process of your works.
  • Sequence – you will have priced and programmed the works to proceed in a logical sequence. If you are expected to go backwards and forwards to and from different areas you will be less efficient and your costs will definitely increase.
  • When you have completed the various sections of the works make sure you notify the Contractor and get them signed off if possible.
  • Make sure you get someone to sign to acknowledge the date and time that you handed the works over.
  • Photographs/video can be invaluable. You can record exactly what was done, and when.
  • Use a camera that records the date and time, but it is still a good idea to use the old fashioned idea of taking a picture of the headline from the Sun or Mirror for each day you are taking photographs.
  • Make sure you keep records of what all the other trades are doing, when they start and finish various areas if these are impacting on your works.

I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday blog post and that it gave you some food for thought, and as usual, if you need any help, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call.


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