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Construction Law/Engineer’s obligations under Sub-Clause 20.1 & 3.5


We are using FIDIC MDB 2010 conditions of contract for Construction. I am confused with the Engineers role when claim under clause 20.1 received and Engineer determination under sub-clause 3.5. Sub-Clause 20.1 requires the Engineer to respond with approval or with disapproval and detailed comments to claim within 42 days. This Sub-Clause also obliges the Engineer to determine this matter under sub-clause 3.5 within the above defined time period of 42 days.  Sub-Clause 3.5 put a time limit of 28 days (from the receipt of the Claim) on the Engineer to complete the determination process. My queries are as follows:
(a)   Will the Engineer proceed separately under Sub-Clause 3.5 & 20.1?
(b)   Is it possible to determine the matter first within 28days and then reply to claim with approval and disapproval within 42 days?
(c)   If the Engineer wants to combine determination and approval with detailed comments, then which time period prevail 28 days or 42 days?


Dear Umer Shabbir,

Thank you for this question.

If I can refer you again to sub-clause 3.5 the wording is that the Engineer shall shall give notice within 28 days "except when otherwise specified", thereby allowing a shorter, or longer time where other clauses detail.

You have noted that under sub-clause 20.1 the Engineer is allowed the longer period of 42 days. This longer time will be applicable.

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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