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Construction Law/provisional sums in lump sum contract


Dear Femi,

we have a lump sum contract,

in that contract i have provisional sum (for MEP work with defined price).

my question is:

1) Shall we take the contract price as an amount (included in it the provisional sum)?

and when we release the advanced payment to contractor we shall lets say pay him %20 of the contract price ... so the contract price will include the provisional sum and priced cost sums?

2)later on when we want to use the provisional sum for MEP .

how we will evaluate the amount which will be taken from the provisional sums? is there a mechanism for it ? specially in the contract it is not mentioned how.

thanks and regards

Dear MH,

Thanks for your question,.

Usually, all contract sum includes both sums provided for provisional sums scope of works and other contractor's measured or other direct works. In general terms, provisional sums and PC sums are provided under the contract for works which the extent are not known as at the time of preparing the contract documents and or which could either be executed by the contractor and or specialist agencies or contractor or subcontractor.

In addressing your questions, advance payments is released based upon the provisions of the contract. I am aware that most contract provisions indicates the advance payment to be released as a percentage of the contract sum and not as a percentage of the difference of the contract sum and provisional sums (for works to be executed by either others and or the contractor himself).

As you have brightly observed, since advance payments would still be paid when such provisional sums and PC sums scope of work are awarded, and it becoming paid two times (one as part of the total contract sum and two as part of the subcontract sum which part or whole may have been part of the already paid advance based on the whole contract sum), the above provision seems needed to be carefully worded.

Later on as asked by you, when the scope of provisional sums and or PC sums are awarded, the amount to be paid as an advance payment would be determined by the contract provisions for such scope of works which at times could be either by nominated subcontract for nominated subcontractor and or suppliers. If nothing, is stated, then, the percentage advance payment paid to the contractor can be a condition precedent for it.

Does this answer your question? And if there is any further query,  please let me know.

Thanks so much.


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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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