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Construction Law/problem with supplier


Hi Mr.Wael,
We are a MEP subcontractor in Abu Dhabi. We recently got a project on Al Ain.We have started the projects 5 month back, and as usual we have proceeded with material submittal especially the long lead items .which were almost approved except the chilled water pump submittal.
The consultant gave his comments to the supplier who kept silent for more than 2 month although our several reminders to him by email.
two days back we got a replay from him that the model of the pump is no more available in the market and the manufacturer of the pump have come up with a better pump than the existing and his quotation are no more valid.
The sequence of events as below:
  First submittal: 13 Jan 14
  Consultant Comments on submittal: 03 Feb 14
  Comments sent to Supplier: 09 Feb 14
  6 Reminders were sent to supplier by emails  
  Reminder #6 : 27 Mar 14
  Reply from Supplier: 09 Apr 14
We are as MEP contractor in trouble now. The cost of the pump has increased and the re-submittal and procurement of the new model will take 5 month more (1month for approval + 4 month procurement) which may delay the project handing over to the client.
Is there is any way out of this trouble with the client and main contractor? If not, how can I charge the supplier with all of these delays?
Thank you in advance for your prompt replay

Dear Abdo,

Thank you for this question, which I note is addressed to Mr. Wael but arrived for my consideration.

I perceive two fundamental scenarios; one based upon the pump being an employer specified item, the other being that it is an item chosen by yourself as MEP contractor.

If the pump was specified by the Employer and is no longer available this may be grounds for you seeking an extension of time. If the pump was chosen by you as MEP contractor it is somewhat more difficult.

Is you preferred supplier a distributor or a manufacturer? If a distributor, I suggest that you contact the manufacturer directly to ascertain whether any of its other distributors have the model in stock. The manufacturer may also be better placed to work with you to accelerate the approval and delivery of the newer pump unit.

An alternative approach is to investigate the availability of alternative products, either as a permanent or temporary solution.

If there is an alternative that the consultant will approve you might be able to secure one on a shorter timescale. If the situation remains as bleak, I suggest that you propose to the consultant that to instal an available alternative on a temporary basis to facilitate timely completion of the project with the intention of changing over the unit within the defects maintenance period.

As to charging the supplier, did you have a contract with the supplier? If you did have a contract I would need to see a copy of the terms to ascertain your entitlement. If you did not have a contract I doubt the supplier has any liability to you.

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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