We have recently reviewed several claims on a large project. Most have gone through two or more time-consuming (and costly) revisions. The reason is that after submission (based on information from the Contractor) the Contractor invariably does not agree with it. The Contractor then provides additional information or explanation. The Engineer has a responsibility to take this into account, so the assessment must be revised. Sometimes it has taken several months to elicit all the information from the Contractor and conclude the matter.

The point here is that the Contractor could have provided all the information and made his arguments clearly in the first place. The matter could then have been settled within weeks rather than months.

Sure, the Contractor would have had to put in some extra effort when preparing the claim. However, the responses he was obliged to issue probably took more time to prepare than if they’d been included in the responses within the original claim.

How can you avoid this with your claims?

  • Ensure the claim is comprehensive and deals with all matters pertinent to the claim.
  • Ensure statements and facts relied on are all substantiated.
  • Think about the arguments you would make if you were reviewing the claim and deal with them.
  • Ensure someone with no knowledge of the claim reviews it before it is submitted. If anything isn’t clear to this person, you need to make some changes.
  • Ensure the claim is a stand-alone document so the reviewer has everything needed to make a proper assessment.

In other words, get it right first time!