Construction Law/design approval


Dear Mr. Dowse,

I'm working on a composting plant project (fidic yellow book 1999) and have the following case: The contractor sent a design which deviates from the technical proposal which is a contract document (the buildings area needed for the equipment is reduced by half)but it still complies with the employer's requirements. In private talks with the contractor it became clear that it underpriced the project and with the new design wants to reduce its losses. I think that the engineer can approve this design but with a reduction of the accepted contract sum. I'll be glad to have your opinion.

Best regards

Dear Radi,

Thank you for this question.

I agree with the conclusion you have reached. The Contractor can propose a value engineering variation; the Engineer and Employer do not have to accept but in the interests of the Project in the circumstances where the underpricing may affect the Contractor's ability to complete, this would seem to be a good project management decision.

I hope that this assists you.

Kind regards,
John Dowse

Follow me on Twitter: @CernoOrg
For my regular industry newsletter e-mail to, stating SUBSCRIBE in the subject line

Training and consulting services are available, bespoke to companies and individuals.
John Dowse can be contacted by e-mail to (When e-mailing, please include “AllExperts” in the subject line.)

Construction Law

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2017 All rights reserved.