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Construction Law/Interpretation of Sub-Clause 2.1



My question is based on FIDIC Red Book 1999;

Can you please give me an interpretation of the wording "right of access to the Site" and "possession of the Site" and what does mean the "...right and possession may not be exclusive..."

The other question is: does the possession means the responsibilities for maters such as traffic safety?

Thank you!

Dear Dan,

Thank you for this question.

Please bear in mind that words and phrases in contract can have different meanings depending upon the law of the Project and the location. Indeed even the language can give a different interpretation. Without knowledge of such matters my answer can only be in borad terms.

At the simplest the "right of access tot he Site" means that the Employer shall allow the Contractor onto the Site in accordance with the Contract. Unless stated otherwise this would be an unfettered, or unencumbered right to enter on to all parts of the Site.

The phrase "possession of the Site" intends that the Contractor is given power of control over the site. This is distinct from legal ownership. The legal ownership will remain with others but under the contract the Contractor is then allowed to use the site and control the activities on and within the site.

WIth regard to the final phrase, "... right and possession may not be exclusive", this is intended to convey to the Contractor that he might not have the sole occupancy or entitlement to be on or use the site. In construction contracts it is common for several trade contractors, for example,e to share a common working space in order to expedite construction. If each was allowed exclusive access and possession the construction period would increase of necessity.

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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