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Olympic client delays could cost contractors

CONTRACTORS COULD be forced to foot the bill and face legal action, for delays caused by the client on Olympic projects, construction lawyers warned this week.

A clause added to the NEC3, contract, which will be used by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) on 2012 projects, prevents rms from claiming compensation from clients more than eight weeks after they rst became aware of a problem on site.

Three weeks ago the ODA con med it would use the NEC3 contract on most of the 2012 projects (NCE 27 July).

Barrister Hamish Lal warned that the contract's clause 61.3 could overrule the prevention principle.

This allows a contractor protection from being sued for liquidated damages if the reason for late completion was an act of hindrance or prevention by the employer.

'If, for example, the ODA delays delivery of certain information, then the contractor may not see any reason to report it straight away.

'But if the project ends up being late as a result, the contractor would then seek to be paid for its extra time.

'The client, however, could say the contractor hadn't noti d it within the eight weeks and refuse to pay, ' said Lal.

Construction Confederation legal affairs director John Bradley agreed problems were likely and said contractors could also be sued by the client for failing to nish on time.

'The problem is, there's no legal precedent for this in English law, ' he added.

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