Construction Law/Claims


Clause 52.5 of Standard conditions of contract, 1987 FIDIC based, states the followings: " The Contractor shall send to the Engineer's Representative once in every month an account giving particulars , as full and detailed as possible ,of all claims for any additional payment to which the Contractor may consider himself entitled and of all extra or additional work ordered by the Engineer which has  executed during the preceding month.
No final or interim claim for payment for any such work or expense will be considered which has not been included in such particulars.Provided always that the Engineer shall be entitled to authorize payment to be made  for any such work or expense,notwithstanding the Contractor's failure to comply with this condition,if the contractor has at the earliest practicable opportunity ,notified the Engineer in writing that he intends to make claim for such work and has as soon as is practicable thereafter sent detailed particulars of the claim.
the question is how do we define "the earliest practicable opportunity" since deadline date for notification and then to submit the detailed of the claim have not been identified,. How if the contractor failed to submit his claims particulars for a year , will he still be entitled to look at his claim. Can we apply time bar principle if the contractor failed to submit his claim notification and later the claim's details at the earliest practicable opportunity. Many thanks in advance

Dear Mohammad,

Thank you for your question.

Firstly, I have failed to identify Sub-Clause 52.5 in the '87 Book that I have, claims procedure being laid down in Sub-Clauses 53.1 - 5.

Nevertheless, based on information you provided, obviously, one year is well beyond what one could reasonably interpret as "the earliest practicable opportunity", which should be the first available opportunity, say within a month.

Basically, if no notice of claim and no details provided at "the earliest practicable opportunity", the Contractor has lost any right.

However, there are three points to consider:

1. The text you cited reads: "notwithstanding the Contractor's failure to comply with this condition", which to me means the Engineer has the discretion to go over such failure if he so decides, but he is not bound to.

As such, there might be a way to accept Contractor's late claim.

2. A similar time barring is present in the 1999 FIDIC Suite and subsequent books, but is defined as 28 days. Even in that case, it sometimes happens that such time barring is not necessary a definite killer of Contractor's rights, providing the Contractor has a good reasoning for his failure for having not observed the 28 days deadline.

But in your case, if the Contractor has failed to issue the notification and details for a year, they will probably have difficulties in explaining what have they done for all that time.

Nevertheless, I guess they should be given a chance to provide an answer and then to make a decision - see reasoning in the point below.

3. Depending on the Law of the Country, it might be the case that Contractor's rights can not be extinguished by simple failure of Contractor to notify.

Obviously, that is outside the Contract and one need to consult with a local lawyer.

Hence, my suggestion is that claim should not be time barred immediately, without analysing the legal context and Contractor's reasons for having delayed his claim for a year.

Hope that helps.

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Questions related to Civil Engineering Contracts, using FIDIC or other Conditions of Contract, concerning Procurement procedures and documents (pre-qualification, tendering and contracting) and Services/ Works Contracts implementation matters including Determinations, Payments, Time Extensions, VOs, Claims/Disputes. Additionally, questions related to dealing with International Financing Institutions. Can also answer questions in Romanian. Can not answer improperly formulated questions.


Over 20 years of experience in the field of design, works supervision, construction, management of aid funds and technical assistance for various types of contracts implementation, including severe conflictual contractual situations leading to Claims and disputes. Claims/ Contract management, Disputes adjudication, Arbitration.

Member of Romanian Professional Association of Roads and Bridges; Listed on President's List of Adjudicators of Romanian Association of Consulting Engineers Former member of the Disputes Resolution Board Foundation (DRBF) of United States – nominee on DRBF President’s Disputes Board Members List and of DRBF Chapter for Eastern Europe Former member of Polish Association of Consulting Engineers (SIDiR) – nominee on SIDiR President’s Disputes Board Members National List Member of “” volunteers pool Member of the "Constructions Disputes Resolution Services” International Panel of Construction ADR Specialists" of United States

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