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Construction Law/Preliminary and General Items


Dear sir,

I would like to get your opinions on some two issues in the preliminary and general items in a contract.

Item 1 reads as follows:-
Allow a provisional sum of Kshs 300,000 for the provision and maintenance of internet services in the Engineer's office for the duration of the contract.

While this is a clearly spelt out provisional sum, I agree that the contractor should expend the money against an instruction from the Engineer.

Item 2 (this is the contentious item) reads as follows.
Provide or Rent equivalent and maintain fully furnished and functional Type I House Resident Engineer's Accommodation to the approval of the Engineer as detailed in the drawings for 16 months (covering DLP)
The Contractor quoted a lumpsum amount for this item.

Whereas the Contractor provided the housing and was paid the whole amount as per his quotation, the auditor now wants a proof of the expenditure of the full amount arguing that the Contractor ought to have claimed and paid only for the amount spent. The Contractor on his part argues that he is the one who quoted for money and as such he is entitled to full pay as per his quote without any back-up information (invoices or receipts)unlike in item 1 above.

I am I right to support the opinion of the Contractor?

Is there any Clause in the FIDIC which I can quote to support my argument?

Thanking you in advance for your advice.


Dear George,

Thank you for your question.

Suggest you check in the FIDIC book that you're using, there should be the definitions of the Lump and Provisional sums.

Provisional Sums are only to be used upon Engineer/ Employer instruction/ approval and Contractor is reimbursed against actual costs, against invoices and other supporting documents.

Lump Sum indeed, are to be spent by the Contractor as stated in their offer/ Contract.

If Contractor pays less, that's their gain, if they pay more, it's their loss. Contractor is not to produce and invoices or any supporting document for justifying the actual expenses.

The auditor, as probably most of auditors in this world, has only learnt some rules in his office, that any expenditure is to be demonstrated and satisfied himself to stay there and to not learn anything else.

Suggest you ask him to indicate the contractual basis under which he requires that. But before that, it may be useful he reads the Contract.

Hope that answer your query.

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Questions related to Civil Engineering Contracts, using FIDIC or other Conditions of Contract, concerning Procurement procedures and documents (pre-qualification, tendering and contracting) and Services/ Works Contracts implementation matters including Determinations, Payments, Time Extensions, VOs, Claims/Disputes. Additionally, questions related to dealing with International Financing Institutions. Can also answer questions in Romanian. Can not answer improperly formulated questions.


Over 20 years of experience in the field of design, works supervision, construction, management of aid funds and technical assistance for various types of contracts implementation, including severe conflictual contractual situations leading to Claims and disputes. Claims/ Contract management, Disputes adjudication, Arbitration.

Member of Romanian Professional Association of Roads and Bridges; Listed on President's List of Adjudicators of Romanian Association of Consulting Engineers Former member of the Disputes Resolution Board Foundation (DRBF) of United States – nominee on DRBF President’s Disputes Board Members List and of DRBF Chapter for Eastern Europe Former member of Polish Association of Consulting Engineers (SIDiR) – nominee on SIDiR President’s Disputes Board Members National List Member of “” volunteers pool Member of the "Constructions Disputes Resolution Services” International Panel of Construction ADR Specialists" of United States

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