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Construction Law/Appointment of The Engineer


QUESTION: Sir,FIDIC and PEC documents are silent about procedure to be adopted for the appointment of The Engineer on a construction project.
Various practices are as under.
1.Supervision Consultant is designated as The Engineer through its Head.
2.Employer designates one of its professional employee as The Engineer.
3.A professional known to Employer is taken on board as The Engineer.
We are a Government organization and have been advised to hire services of The Engineer through competition following PPRA rules .We have the apprehension that following this procedure we may end in chaos.
Will you kindly throw some light and by referring to some document recommend about the right way The Engineer should be hired for a project.
Engineer Abdul Hafeez

ANSWER: Dear Abdul Hafeez

You have raised a very interesting and important question. Generally the Employers use all the options mentioned in your question. The basic issue is the appointment of a person who can do the job vested in him by the Contract and it may be a person whom the Employer can trust, based on his professional capabilities to handle not only technical issues but also the complicated contractual issues. It also depend on the nature, size and complexity of the Project concerned.

I will now discuss each option:

(i) This is a good option if the Supervision Consultants show in their resume that they posses such capabilities and are in a position to take decision independently and professionally. In this case the Head of the Organization authorizes a senior professional from the organization to act as the Engineer and this is a common practice in Pakistan.

(ii) This is not a good option to adopt. How can a professional from the Employer Organization give decisions which is to be considered as neutral no matter how professional it may be. The Engineer should be a person who should command respect from both the Employer and the Contractor regarding his professionalism, integrity and neutrality. How can a person from the Employer's organization display such qualities. Adopting this option should be discouraged.

(iii) This is a better option in case the Employer is interested in independent decision making. Depending on the size and complexity of the issues expected to be encountered, the Employer may select a professional very well known for his professional ability and integrity to act as the Engineer. Such an Engineer commands the respect of both the Employer and the Contractor. He is not involved in the day to day matters of construction supervision and therefore his decisions can be trusted to be neutral and without any bios.

Frankly speaking, and as you have rightly pointed out there is no specific method of selecting the Engineer mentioned in FIDIC or PEC documents. Actually FIDIC or PEC are the Organizations who prepare the Contract Conditions and are not interested in such matters.

As far as PPRA is concerned, Option (i) is compliant. But as I said earlier it is the Employer's trust and confidence that matters and if such professionalism is lacking there, especially for large projects, then he should look for option (iii). This is why some organizations opt for hiring the services of their retired employees for such assignments.

As for as option (iii) is concerned, PPRA allow negotiations with specialists. Following procedure of competition generally result in the selection of the inefficient professional as any professional with sound knowledge and relevant experience will not appear in such competition as they do not compromise on their fees. Such professionals consider appearing in such competition, a mere waste of time. Just on a lighter note, have you ever seen a Specialist Surgeon appearing in competition for doing surgery of even a VVIP. Frankly speaking,I have yet to come across a case where the services of the Engineer is hired through competition except when a whole package of consultancy services are required.

I hope this answers your question.


Abdul Majid Khan         

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Sir,Thanks for your deliberations on the subject.Can you guide me to specific reference in PPRA where negotiations with specialists are allowed without adoption of competition criteria in the first instance.Specialist will be defined as The Engineer in our case.
Best Regards,
Abdul Hafeez

Dear Abdul Hafeez

Thanks for the follow up question. I tried to find out specific reference for you but PPRA rule, though prepared for all procurement, generally deal with contractors and suppliers. Currently I am working on a project and is using PPRA Rules Punjab. The latest PPRA Rules, Government of Punjab, under Rule 46 explains the procedure for hiring individual consultants. Under this rule the individuals are not required to submit proposals and selection is based on qualification and experience for the assignment among those who have shown interest or have been approached by the procuring agency. Please visit http// for more details.

I hope the question is answered.


Abdul Majid Khan

Construction Law

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Abdul Majid Khan


I am interested in questions related to time Extension, Liquidated Damages,variations, price adjustments,payments, disputes and Dispute Board under FIDIC IV, FIDIC 1999 and FIDIC 2006 Harmonized Documents.


I have been heading the Construction Management Division and Contract Divisions of National Engineering Services Pakistan (PVT) Limited, NESPAK, the largest Consulting Engineering Firm in Pakistan, for more than seven years and two years respectively. I have also worked as "The Engineer" on a number of projects. I have been working in Saudi Arabia for about seven years on a road projects. Additionally I worked as Arbitrator and am member of few Dispute Boards in individual capacity on Asian Development Bank funded projects.

Inland and in Middle East. I have worked with National Engineering Services Pakistan (Pvt) Limited (NESPAK)as my Employer for more than 27 years in Pakistan. In Saudi Arabia I worked for Rashid Engineering, Consulting Engineers during 80s. After retirement I provided advisory services to NESPAK on technical and contractual matters to its various divisions and lately I was appointed as Advisor to Managing Director NESPAK on Technical and Contractual matters. Currently I work as Free Lance Contract Specialist on Fidic Form of Contracts.

I am a graduate with a B.E (Civil Engineering) degree. My year of graduation is 1970.

Awards and Honors
A few appreciation Letters and Honorariums during my service in NESPAK. I remained member of Administrative Committee and Board of Management of NESPAK. I had been part of the Management Committee in the absence of Managing Director.

Past/Present Clients
Most of the Clients used to be Government Departments, Corporations and Authorities. In Saudi Arabia the Client was Ministry of Communications. As Arbitrator and Dispute Board (DB) member, I provide services to various Government Departments and Contractors.

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