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Construction Law/FIDIC- Engineer is not approving alternate material


I am working with one of the Contractors as Quantity Surveyor. We are facing an issue in one of our projects. The project is an infra-structure development project. The Contract was based on  FIDIC 1987 4th edition in a traditional procurement route.

The Contract specified a brand for a particular material with strength 10N/m2 or equivalent product..  As an equivalent product the Contractor proposed another brand material with 11N/m2.  The Engineer’s Representative approved the material submission. The Contractor progressed with work completed 70% of work until the progress of Works was suspended on the instruction of the Engineer.

During the suspension, as mutually agreed with the Contractor, the Employer replaced the engineer and then the Works restarted. The newly appointed Engineer asked to resubmit all the material submissions. The Engineer disapproved the material submission the alternate material by the contractor stating that they do not comply with the Contract requirements. They also asked the contractor to submit method statement for rectify the work completed with
We demonstrated that the submitted material and so the installed materials fully comply with the Contract requirement. The specified material only had a compressive strength of 10T/m2 where as the alternate material proposed and installed by the contractor has compressive strength of 11T/m2. The engineer then tried to apply additional and unreasonable criteria for approving the alternate material. One of them was an undertaking letter from the material manufacture. We informed them that we are not liable to provide such warranties. The argument is going on now.
During the discussions I understood that newly appointed Engineer does not have confidence in the adequacy of the design by the previous consultants. He is trying to impose additional factor of safety without admitting that but by asking the Contractor to revise the material with his own cost.
This portion of the works accounts for only 15% of the overall scope. But delay in executing this will delay the other works to be carried out after this activity and the project delivery will be delayed.
We (the contractor) are confident that the material proposed and installed by them is complying with the Contract specification.  We are not sure about the design adequacy which is not our liability as per the Contract.
In this scenario;

could you please answer my following questions?

•       Can the contractor continue with the previously approved material without getting the approval from the new Engineer?   - If yes; what will be te consequence?  . if no; as per which clause in contract.
•       Is the contractor is entitled for EOT if he continue to convince the Engineer and wait for the approval of the submitted material or revised design from the Engineer.  If yes; are there any risks in doing so?  (notices will be served)
•       If the contractor resubmit the material as advised by the engineer and do the rectification also. Then while progressing with the work if he submits a claim for additional payment for rectification and revised material specification; contractually or legally is there any ground to get the claim approved?

Dear Rameesha,

Sorry for the delay which is because of technical reasons.

1- Yes they can continue with the approved material. In Contract Engineer is specified and their responsibilities are also specified. Contractor has no responsibility for the change in Engineer company or representative. Ant approval given by the Engineer is given for the name of Engineer and not for any company or specific name. If they request any change from previous approval this is a variation.

2+3 - As I mentioned above it is clear that the approval is given by Engineer and it has nothing to do with the change of Company. The new Engineer Company shall start project with already approved materials and if they request any change it means additional cost.
    You may resubmit the same material upon their request, but shall go on with the installation, and in case of rejection or request of different material you shall submit your claim. During this all letter time you shall not stop or hold your progress without any written instruction to do so. If there will be an instruction like, you will be entitled for EOT.

     Here the key is you signed a contract with an Employer and there is an Engineer specified in the contract. Engineer is Engineer only for you, what ever company or name comes any signature as Engineer is binding for any company working under the name of Engineer in contract.


Daniel Kazado

Construction Law

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Daniel Kazado


I can answer questions related with FIDIC contracts.


10 years as Contract Manager for FIDIC contracts.

Mechanical Engineer
Contract Management - Basic Principles Certificate. Construction Contracts and Dispute Resolution Certificate. Contract Administration - FIDIC Certificate.

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