Make Sure You Get Noticed! (Part 2)
The second of three posts about the all important subject of notices. So here is Part 2.
But first, a reminder of my blunt truth that: If you don’t give notice you put your business at risk!
It is something that MUST be done in order to protect your interests when things start to go wrong, and you must not let the Contractor dissuade you from issuing them!
Some old fashioned examples
# 1 ‘We have received your letter dated 8 May 2021 accusing us of delay on Level 1. We are amazed at your allegations, which just prove that you are completely out of touch with the real situation on site. This is another case where our willingness to be helpful has been used against us.
If certain parties spent more time out on site and less time criticising others, then the job would be a lot further on etc.’.
This is a wonderful example of the old-fashioned approach. Full of irrelevant emotion, and totally silent on facts! The Contractor must have gone through the roof when he read it. The fact that the subbie’s remarks were probably true would have probably rubbed salt into the wound! And the Contractor would be getting his own back by knocking down our valuation and final account, and hitting us with contra charges.
# 2 ‘We have received your Programme 21B dated 15 May 2021. We are amazed to see that you still require us to finish on the original end date, regardless of the delays we have suffered. You have been notified on several occasions under Clause 20(1)(a) of delays due to late access, and also 20(l)(b)(i) and (ii) regarding late information. We have requested an extension of time under Clause 20(2)(a) and 20(3)(c)(iii). We are not prepared to work to your programme, which fails to take account of our previous requests. If you insist that we do, then we give you notice pursuant to Clause 26(3)(a) of our intention to claim all resulting loss and expense, including finance costs.’
If all else has failed then OK. But otherwise, this example is too heavy, too ‘legal’ and looks like a subbie spoiling for a fight. There is no sign of any willingness whatever to help the situation. To a Contractor with his back to the wall, this letter would go down ‘like a lead balloon’.
The Same Letters Using A More Subtle Approach
Let us look at the same letters using a more subtle approach, designed to protect ourselves contractually without being too confrontational.
# 1 ‘We confirm our site visit on 12 May 2021 and thank you for taking the time to look round the site with us. The present state of building progress is not quite ready for a start on electrical works (i.e. roof incomplete, and considerable water-logging in the basement, where we are due to commence first fix). We confirm our agreement that we visit again in a week’s time, and that we shall jointly review the situation. Assuring you of our full co-operation.’
This example is factual, polite and non-aggressive.
#1 ‘Thank you for giving us your time on site yesterday, when we discussed the progress situation on Level 2 first fix. As we explained, the reason for being unable to commence work in this area has been due to the general lack of weather-proofing, as a result of the general lack of progress of the roofing works. However, we are pleased to see that the situation is rapidly improving, and hope to move into the area with a squad of ten electricians on Monday 26 may 2021. Assuring you of our commitment.’
This example gives details of the cause and exact activity affected, in a friendly and reassuring way.
#1 ‘We are in receipt of your letter dated 8 May 2021 regarding progress on Level 1. We would respectfully refer you to our Delay Notices Nos 1267 and 1268 dated 4 January 2018 and 5 January 2018, when we reported that we were at a standstill on final fix work due to the whole area being occupied by floor layers. However, we have kept close contact, and note that the floor layers have almost finished their work. We shall therefore return with a full squad on Monday 26 May 2021, to expedite completion of the final fix to this area. Assuring you of our best attentions.’
This example refutes the allegations, in a calm, factual and non-emotional way.
#2 ‘Thank you for your letter dated 8 May 2021 enclosing your revised Programme No 21B dated 5 May 2021. Having studied same very carefully, may we respectfully comment as follows:
(a) We note that our works are programmed for completion on the original end date of 31 May 2021.
(b) Whilst we are anxious to assist in every way, we must refer to our various delay notices and requests for an extension of time of 6 weeks,
(c) It is our view that completion by the original date could only be achieved by ‘special measures’ (e.g. additional labour and/or weekend working).
We are very willing to discuss this matter with you, in the interests of the project, and suggest a meeting early next week. Assuring you etc.’
This example makes the subbie’s position clear, but shows a willingness to help in overcoming the Contractor’s problems. There is no specific reference to how these ‘special measures’ are to be reimbursed, but the message is there for the Contractor – the message being ‘We are prepared to accelerate, but only once an agreement has been reached’.
Whatever You Do You Must Take Action
Take action to safeguard your business from the catastrophic impact of delay and disruption.
If you don’t then it could cost you your business…
Unscrupulous Contractors use every trick in the book, to reduce and delay payments, including blaming you for delay and setting off all the costs against your account.
Don’t be one of the casualties, take action now.
You can call us for initial no cost advice on 01773 712116, and our Gold and Platinum Buddies can use their commercial and contractual consultancy to establish the best course of action.
Whatever level your business is at, and whatever your specialisation I want to encourage you to experience and enjoy a better more profitable, less stressful way.
Please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call if you need any help with any of your business problems on 01773 712116.