Things have changed in the last 4,500 years but you’ve got to hand it to Khufu – he was probably right. After all, he was responsible for building the Great Pyramid at Giza, the only one of the famous Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that is still standing today. And, apart from keeping professors of construction the world over wondering how on earth it was built, it must have repaid its capital cost many times over in tourist revenues.
The construction industry is as old as time, but the same three elements remain crucial to every contract: Time, Cost and Quality. It is not realistically possible to optimise all three elements at the same time. To deliver what the client wants, either a balance must be achieved or, as Khufu foresaw, two of the elements must be sacrificed (to a greater or lesser degree) for the benefit of the third.
Construction is a hugely stimulating industry; it is dynamic, demanding and creative. But it is also a multifaceted and intricate process. Each new project is complex and unique, its overall success relying on the performance and timing of so many different individuals – each with their own problems, priorities and foibles – to perform their part of the puzzle. Not surprisingly, things rarely go entirely according to plan.
Project owners and sponsors can be difficult individuals, and understandably so. They know what they want and are paying good money to get it. They are entitled to change their minds whilst a project is under construction, even if they do not appreciate the difficulties and heartache this could cause to their contractors and technical team.
As for those brave enough to call themselves contractors, with all the things that can go wrong in the construction process, there are myriad reasons they might need more time, money, or both, if they are to fulfil their own commercial expectations and hopefully also the aspirations of the owner.
In all sectors of construction – building, civil engineering, infrastructure and energy – whenever there is change affecting time, cost, or quality, there will be differing views on the effects of that change. In most cases, the client’s professional team will somehow manage to work things out and reach an acceptable compromise with the contractor– but not always.
This website outlines some of the options available for parties to settle disputes when things go wrong in the construction and energy sectors, and it explains how the peter evans partnership may be able to help you. Whether you are an owner, contractor, consultant or lawyer, if you feel we can assist you with your particular problem we shall be pleased to hear from you.