Construction Law/Suspension of work


Hi John,
I am working in contracting company in Dubai, we have contract with employer refers to FIDIC 1987 to construct building. Due to default of employer in releasing payments within the contractual duration, we have given notice to suspend the works within 28 days after the contractual duration then after 28 days we suspended the works. My questions:
1. Can the engineer instruct us to do any rectification for the works done at site?
2. Can the employer appoint any subcontractor to do some works at site while the works are suspended? Is there any supporting document to your answer from FIDIC or any construction law?
3. Can we secure the site, close it totally and prevent any body from client side from entering the site?
Thanks & regards.

Dear Omar,

Thank you for this question.

In brief and subject to any amendment to the conditions of contract I suggest that:

A) If the Contractor has possession of the site under the Contract, it can close and secure the site but will remain liable for security and safety.

B) Suspension temporarily halts the performance of all future obligations, it does not suspend liability to make safe that which has gone before. If there are defects that affect security and safety the Contractor should attend to those as a matter of urgency notwithstanding the suspension.

C) The Employer is in breach of contract by failing to pay. If the Contractor reasonably refuses to continue non-urgent work the Employer should not employ others to progress the project. That would represent a further breach.

I hope that this assists you.

Kind regards,
John Dowse

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John Dowse


Legal; contract interpretation; quantum; delay analysis. Practitioner in arbitration, adjudication and mediation.


Thirty-three (33) years experience in building and construction, at all levels both within contracting and consulting organisations. Practising arbitrator, adjudicator, and mediator. Faculty approved trainer for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Lecturer on construction contract forms and dispute resolution practices.

Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Institute of Directors Society of Construction Arbitrators

Various UK and International construction and legal publications.

LLB (Hons), Pg Dip (Legal Practice), MCInstCES MCIArb MIOD Barrister

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