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Construction Law/Subcontractor's rights under the contract


Dear Sir,
We are about to enter into a subcontract for road construction with the main subcontractor from Europe. As you are aware subcontracts are all drawn up one-sidedly leaving not enough room for the subcontractor to take actions against the contractor. And the Subcontract we have been offered to sign seems to me as butchered contract from which important clauses for the benefit of the subcontractor are omitted. Under the contractor almost all liabilities shall be carried by the Subcontractor and so on.Thus my attention is what are the main clauses the Subcontractor shall draw its attention, I can say, subcontractor protecting clauses. Are there any FIDIC subcontracts we can utilize or look at? We are little experienced in this area.
Your help is appreciated.

Dear Holid,

Thanks for your question. It is not uncommon that we have one-sided subcontract agreement drawn up by a Main Contractor. However, any subcontractor must be careful in entering into a contract which obviously has unbalanced or unfavourable conditions. By this, i mean, if the risks are not well covered and priced under the "consideration" being accepted under the contract. My advise will be that, if the conditions of the subcontracts are "onerous", then, any subcontractor entering into such must have considered such conditions as risks and must factor the risks into the price which he is agreeing under the subcontract.

You have requested for main clauses to watch out for and i can briefly let you know that the subcontract has to CLEARLY address few of the following situations should they occur during the contract:

1. Payment terms - procedure for payment, time for submission of payment application, time for processing and certification and time for payment after certification.
2. Terms regarding how to handle any delays to the Subcontractor's scope caused by the Main Contractor.
3. Responsibility Matrix for the roles and attendances including special attendance to be provided by the Main Contractor to subcontractor for the execution of the subcontract works. Procedure for assessing the attendances.
4. Compensation of any delays directly caused to the subcontractor by the Main Contractor.
5. Compensation for any delay caused by the Client to Main Contractor which in turn caused delays to subcontractor.
6. Procedures and period for submittals and approval of sample and other technical submittals
7. Subcontractor's entitlement or recourse for non-timely issuance of approvals, payment certificate and non-payment by the Main contractor.
8. Penalty for non-completion by Subcontractor and adjustment of such penalty when Main Contractor or Employer or their representatives takes over part or section of the subcontract.
9. Procedures for taking over the completed subcontract or any part or section thereof.
10. Contractor's powers against the Subcontractor in times of delay or slow progress by Subcontractor.
11. Completion period and any interim milestone completion with respective penalties (if any).
12. Escalation cost - change in statutory requirement
13. Procedures for changes, variations and Issuance of instruction

I will encourage you to (if possible) adopt to use FIDIC for subcontract - 1992 edition.

Hope the above clears your doubt?


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Femi Alofe


I can answer all questions relating to the followings: 1. Contract Administration - variations, contract clauses interpretation, all post contract procedures, valuations and certificates questions, extension of time issues and prolongation cost matters. 2. Contract Practice - Any questions regarding forms of contract like JCT, FIDIC & other Bespoke forms. 3. Quantification, measurements and Estimating questions 4. Contracts and construction law questions and dispute resolutions problems. 5. All FIDIC Conditions of contracts


Out of my 24 years experience in construction industry, i have the following specific experience: 1. Contract Administration - 15 years in contract administration with over 10yrs in Managerial positions covering africa and the middleeast. 2. Contract Practice - 15 years experience with over 10yrs in Managerial and expert positions covering africa, north america and the middleeast. 3. All pre-contract procedures, Tendering, Quantification, measurements and Estimating questions - 20 years experience. 4. Contracts and construction law questions and dispute resolutions problems - 15 years experience with over 10yrs in Managerial and expert positions and 5 years expert witness and active practice in arbitration proceedings covering africa and the middleeast.

1. FAIQS - Fellow, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Australia 2. FRICS - Fellow, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, UK 3. CCP - Certified Cost Professional AACEI, USA 4. PQS - CIQS, CANADA 5. ACIArb. - CIArb, UK 6. MNIQS - NIQS, NIGERIA 7. RQS - QSRBN, NIGERIA

1. AACEI RP on Estimating, 2010

1. B.Tech (QS) 2. RICS professional course, CEM - UK 3. MSc , UK NARIC 4. Professional Doctorate ( to commence 2016)

Past/Present Clients
1. Larsen & Toubro Ltd, Dubai UAE 2. Larsen & Toubro (oman) LLC 3. Archi + Web consortium, Abuja Nigeria 4. George Dike & Associates, Minna Nigeria 5. Public works Authority (Ashghal), Doha Qatar

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