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Construction Law/FIDIC extension of time for shortage of materials


We engaged a Chinese Contractor to execute a design build contract (FIDIC Yellow Book 1999) for the improvement of the national power grid in Guyana, South America. The Employer's Requirements specify utility poles of a specie of wood only available in Guyana; based on the Contractor's design, the supply of these poles in the design lengths is slow and the Engineer has approved the Contractor's request to use a substitute offshore specie of wood. The Contractor is now claiming additional cost for the offshore supply as well as extension of time and costs.

Our view is that the shortage is a Contractor's risk and neither claim is valid. What is your view?


Dear Paul,

I agree with you.  The basic question is 'what has changed since signature of the Contract?  Whose risk is that change, if any?' I assume that the Engineer's approval of the Contractor's proposal was subject to there being no time or cost effect.  If not, perhaps the Engineer's staff needs a little training in the proper procedures for contract management.  

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Peter M. Elliott


First response to queries regarding extensions of time, variations orders, site instructions and payment using FIDIC and other forms of Conditions of Contract, based on English Law, and derivatives only. Anyone who needs advice about EoT should download and study the SCL Delay & Disruption Protocol before submitting a question.


Value . . .
It's unwise to pay too much, but it's unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do.
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it's well to add something for the risk you run.
And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.
. . . John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
"We are too poor to buy something cheap"
.Romanian Proverb 2002
A lean compromise is better than a fat lawsuit. George Herbert (English poet 1593-1633)
I said it in Hebrew, I said it in Dutch,
I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
That English is what you speak!" Hunting of the Snark - Lewis Caroll
Match your presentation to the reader!
The joy of food lasts but an hour, of sleep but a day, of a woman, but a month, but the joy of a building lasts a lifetime. Syrian proverb.
Comments and observations leading to improvements in the translation of FIDIC Red & Yellow books into Romanian prior to approval by FIDIC (reference 'Preface to the Romanian edition')

Institution of Civil Engineers, Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants, Society of Construction Law, Dispute Resolution Board Foundation

B Sc(Hons) in Civil Engineering

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