A Tribute to Roger Knowles

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing away of Roger Knowles.

Many people will know Roger by reputation through his books and training courses or in a professional capacity and it is without doubt that Roger was an expert in his chosen field as well as an astute businessman. Most people will not, however, know much about Roger, the person. Although I worked for JR Knowles in the Middle East and I only met him on a few occasions, we kept in touch, and he became something of a mentor to me and a great influence on my life.

When I was contemplating writing a practical book on claims, he not only encouraged me, but introduced me to his publishers and wrote the foreword to the book. I am currently working on my sixth book, so Roger helped to kick-start all these publications.

When I was not happy with my current employment, he suggested that going it alone might be an option. This eventually culminated in me being a director and partner of a consultancy practice offering similar services to JR Knowles.

After my first book was published, several readers contacted me wanting to know if I could recommend any training courses on the subject of construction claims. When I contacted Roger to see if he knew of anything available, he not only suggested that I create a course, but also volunteered to share the presentation of the first course to be delivered in London.

On one occasion, we were enjoying lunch by a hotel pool in Dubai when we started talking idly about the fact that claims had become a specialist sector of the industry and consequently deserved some sort of professional recognition. A year or so later, the Institute of Construction Claims Practitioners was born with Roger as the first president. The ICCP now has many members throughout the World and teaches best practice and sets standards for the management of claims.

In his book, Someone Up There Likes Us, Roger tells of the time in the 1970’s when he had decided to offer a one-stop dispute resolution service and says that he considered ‘that my client’s entitlements, whether in respect of time and/or money, should be encapsulated in one fully comprehensive document headed “Construction Claim”. The Claim would tell the story of the events relating to the dispute which could be understood by anybody unconnected with the project, without having to refer to any other documents or person.” This simple goal set the standard for the compilation of claims and is something that we are still observing in our consultancy work and teaching on training courses almost 50 years later.

Thank you, Roger, for your mentorship, inspiration, and support - you have left a great legacy.

My condolences go out to Roger’s family.

FIDIC 1999 Notices - Andy Hewitt's Latest Book

At the end of 2019, I was working with a contractor-client on several extensions of time and additional cost claims. As is necessary for any claim, I needed to demonstrate that the contractor had complied with the contractual notice provisions.

This client had sent some notices. In most cases though, these didn't comply with the contract requirements and were completely meaningless as notices.

The Proposed Solution

It was clear that those responsible for contract administration on the projects were unclear about what a notice should contain. As well as, how to compose them. I suggested to our client that it would be a good idea for me to prepare drafts of the most common notices so that their contract administrators would have a starting place when composing notices on their projects. Our client liked the idea and agreed. A couple of weeks later, a Notice Manual was distributed to all the projects.

An Idea Was Born

It then occurred to me that this client isn’t alone in their lack of understanding of notice provisions of FIDIC. During my considerable time working as a claims consultant, I notice that failure to provide notices in the correct format is one of the biggest mistakes parties make and those appointed to administer a FIDIC contract.

And that was the lightbulb moment.

I decided to write a book on the subject: FIDIC 1999 Notices: A Guide to the Requirements Content and Composition of Notices Under the Red, Yellow and Silver Books.

The book examines each clause of the FIDIC Red, Yellow and Silver forms of contract that require the Contractor, the Employer and the Engineer to give notices. It contains explanations of why, and under what circumstances, you may require each notice. It also provides real-world, written examples of typical notices for each clause.

This is what Dr. Cyril Chern, (Barrister, Chartered Architect, Chartered Arbitrator, Adjudicator, Accredited Mediator, Dispute Board Expert) had to say about it in the foreword:

FIDIC contracts are the basis for most of the world’s major infrastructure projects and also for most of the litigation that arises from these projects. For example, a typical FIDIC notice provision states that notice must be given within 28 days of any event the result of which is that the date for completion ‘is or will be delayed’. What does this mean? What is the notice to look like and what is it to say? And this is where the problem starts.

In my role as both an adjudicator and arbitrator of FIDIC matters, what is most common is the lack of proper notice, timely notice, and intelligent notice but nowhere does FIDIC set out how these are to look and what they are to contain. There are no exact standards to guide the Contractor (nor the Employer or Engineer) and as a result, large amounts of time and money are lost in litigating these issues after the fact, rather than having clear standards to rely upon and prevent problems in the first place.

FIDIC 1999 Notices: A Guide to the Requirements, Content and Composition of Notices Under the Red, Yellow and Silver Books by Andy Hewitt provides both the Contractor and Employer/Engineer as well as their advisors with the needed information and clarity for each of the steps in the construction process under FIDIC contracts (1999 versions) and generally and most importantly doesn’t just ‘talk’ about the issue but gives actual examples which can be used and/or modified for use on any FIDIC project worldwide for maximum benefit.

The book covers first the administration of notices and what is involved and then moves into the necessary Contractor’s notices which form the bulk of claims seen both in a dispute board setting as well as in arbitration—was notice given, what did the notice contain, was it sufficient, why yes and/or why not, and all the needed information for every situation and for every sub-clause of the standard FIDIC contract. Then it delves into the Notices required by both the Employer and its Engineer, thus covering all aspects of any project.

This is a ‘must-have’ and ‘go-to’ book for any Contractor, solicitor, barrister, Engineer and Employer who uses FIDIC contracts, and its information will save time and money for all those who use it. I highly recommend this book.’

If this sounds like something that might be helpful to you or your company, get your copy from Amazon UK or

Hewitt Decipher Partnership’s expert consultants have been preparing and responding to claims for many years. We know how to comply with good practice to ensure that you do not lose your entitlement. Moreover, if you have entitlement, we ensure that your claims suceed. Can we help you? To find out how, get in touch.

From 2018 to 2019
the Beginnings of HDP...

The past twelve months have seen many changes in the Gulf region and some interesting events. In the following we look back and then ahead to what might come in 2019.

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