Claims – Getting it Right
I have performed assessments of several claims on a large project on behalf of the employer and consultant’s teams and most of the assessments have had to go through two or more revisions. The reason for this is that after the initial claim assessment, which was made based on the information the Contractor submitted with the claim, was issued, the Contractor invariably did not agree with it and provided additional information or explanation. The Engineer has a responsibility to take this into account and this additional information obliged me to revise the assessments. Sometimes it has taken several months to elicit all the information from the Contractor and to conclude the matter.
The point I wish to make about this is that if the Contractor had provided all the information and made his arguments clearly within his claim in the first place, the matter could have been settled within weeks rather than months. Undoubtedly, the Contractor would have had to put in some extra effort when preparing the claim, but ultimately the time taken to prepare the additional particulars probably took him more time to prepare than it would have done had he dealt with these matters within the original claim.
So, how can you avoid this with your claims?
- Ensure that the claim is comprehensive and deals with all matters pertinent to the claim;
- Ensure that statements made and facts relied on in the claim are all substantiated;
- Think about the arguments you would make if you were reviewing the claim and deal with them within the claim;
- Ensure that someone with no knowledge of the claim reviews it before it is submitted. If this person either does not understand something or would not make an award, you need to make some changes;
- Ensure that the claim is a stand-alone document so that the reviewer has everything needed to make a proper assessment.
In other words, get it right first time!