M&E Subcontractor issued their NEC3 programme in line with main contractors programme for acceptance

The main cont. has not replied to acknowledge or decline the programme. However they have issued a new programme to the M&E contractor not taking into account any of the changes issued to them on the programme for acceptance issued by the M&E contractor… What should be the next step?

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Contractor is obliged to accept or not accept a Subcontractors programme within two weeks. The fact they have not responded is actually a compensation event in itself under 60.1(6) not that this is a lot of use financially to the Subcontractor as there is unlikely to be any associated demonstrable costs incurred.

It is not really for the Contractor to issue a programme to a Subcontractor and unilaterally expect the Subcontractor to meet theirs. They should be assessing the Subcontractors programme and seeing if it meets their contractual and practical requirements. If it does not meet the Contractual requirements then it can be rejected accordingly. If it does not met their practical requirements then this is not a reason to not accept a programme and may lead to compensation events if they require the Subcontractor to do something different to meet their requirements. It is not a contractual requirement to simply meet any revised dates that the contractor throws at a Subcontractor. Any such constraints should have been identified as part of their tender so they could programme/price risk accordingly.

The next practical step i recommend is to call a meeting (you could even raise an early warning) to understand what the disjoint is between the Subcontractor’s programme and the Contractor’s programme, and why they have not responded.

Glenn has provided a number of valuable learning points in this answer. Would be interesting to know if there are any lurking clauses in the subcontract re programme