NEC ECC: Ahead of programme but wanting to recover prelim costs in a CE

Whilst waiting for an instruction to proceed works we had to stand down for 5 days on site, mainly we had a 30t excavator which had to be stood down. Therefore the client issued us a CE to recover the costs and they are happy to pay for the stand down of plant but they are arguing over prelim costs, their argument is that we were ahead of programme by a week compared to the latest accepted programme so they shouldn’t incur the prelim costs. However we believe that as it’s an extension of time to the programme we should be able to recover prelim costs too. Does being ahead of programme have any consequence when recovering prelim costs in this situation? We also explained that if that is the case then there is surely no incentive to try and beat the programme?

Assuming you are talking about critical path works here it sounds as though your planned Completion was one week ahead of Completion Date. If this compensation event now delays planned Completion by one week, then there is an entitlement to move Completion Date by one week as well (see clause 63.3 under NEC3). This is called terminal float and is owned by the Contractor, and hence retained in the assessments of compensation events.