NEC ECC: Can the Client QS request re-cost loading of the programme just one month after baseline acceptance?

We are the main contractor working on the NEC3 2005 Option A contract. We have had a fully cost-loaded baseline programme accepted by the PM, which will then form the basis of our future payment applications at the end of each month (due to this being payment on 100% completion of activities). After submitting my first payment application (taken directly from the first Clause 32.2 programme), the Client QS is not accepting this due to how the programme is cost-loaded and wants changes to be made to the programme before he will begin to assess my payment application. Our first 32.2 programme submission is derived directly from our accepted baseline, just with some dates pushing out due to the recent covid delays.

My question is, is the QS allowed to request that the programme is to be re cost-loaded, just one month after baseline acceptance? My stance is that, if the QS is not happy with the cost-loading, then the baseline should not have been accepted and the queries resolves prior to this.

Firstly there is no requirement in NEC contracts for programmes to be cost-loaded per se, under Option A clause 31.4 only requires you to show how each activity relates to operations on the programme.

Also in terms of assessing amounts due the programme is irrelevant, you are entitled to be paid for completed activities (see clause 11.2(29) and the definition of the term Price for Work Done to Date. Under clause 50.1 the PM has an obligation to assess amounts due at each assessment date and cannot refuse to do so based on a disagreement about the programme. To do so would entitle you to go to adjudication to secure a payment and also interest on the wrongly assessed / late amount.

Programme submission and acceptance is dealt with under clauses 31 and 32, the idea in NEC is that you always have an up to date, realistic programme. The PM does have the right at clause 32.2 to instruct you to submit a revised programme however you should be submitting one regularly in any case i.e. at no longer interval than the interval stated in the Contract Data.