Streetwise Guide to Site Meeting Minutes
As a Specialist Contractor you will no doubt be asked to attend various meetings including Site Meetings.
The problem is that the minutes of Site Meetings are usually written by the Contractor and … They will no doubt put their own spin on things to make sure the minutes are written in his favour.
This spin ranges from the omission of important statements made by you or other Specialist Contractors during the meeting, to more subtle use of words or phrases.
All this is intended to put a positive spin on what the Contractor is responsible for, and steer any problems or blame towards you the Sub-Contractor.
So, to avoid incurring problems with Site Meeting Minutes, see below some useful hints an tips.
You should check the minutes immediately you receive them, and immediately write to the Contractor telling them you want to have them corrected to resolve any points of omission and/or disagreement. These corrections should then be included in the minutes of the next meeting. What you are seeking to do is establish the true facts as they unfold.
Try and read them as though you were an “outsider” who did not attend the meeting. Better still have one of your colleagues who wasn’t at the meeting to read them through. Then you will often notice the clever bits which appear to represent your comments but are worded so as to leave a very different retrospective interpretation. If you stated that you had been delayed by 6 weeks behind due to lack of progress by others on internal block walls, then that is what you are entitled to see in the minutes. A clever Contractor might report the item as Joe Bloggs Electrical Ltd said that there had been initial delays with block walls, and Stabard Contractors Ltd said that this was now back on programme. Not the same really, is it?
Watch out for the Contractor who issues the Minutes of the previous month’s meeting on the morning of the current meeting. This is done so that you miss out on your chance of correcting them. Don’t fall for it. Register your concern at the current meeting, and insist that the Minutes be issued within say three days of any meeting.
When you respond in a meeting, choose your words carefully. If you are being delayed, and you are in no doubt as to the causes (specific building or information delays, or variations etc) then don’t be “mealy mouthed” about it, as is so often the case. The Streetwisesubbie must state his opinion clearly and ensure that it goes into the minutes as stated. If the Contractor disagrees, that is a separate matter, which can again be recorded in the minutes.
If there are problems due to a fundamental underlying situation (ie extreme delay in completion of the roof, and subsequent effect on weatherproofing etc), then try to see that this is reflected in the Minutes. Otherwise, it will just read like a series of minor trivia, which fails to convey the real situation on site.
Above all, don’t rely upon the Site Minutes as a substitute for proper notices and good records. Whilst Site Minutes can be very helpful in substantiating a Specialist Sub-Contractor’s case for delay, loss and expense etc, they are no more than that.
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