NEC ECC: Item coverage in option B

Just wondered if someone could settle an argument I currently have with a project manager based on an Option B with elements of contractor design for specialist structures series 2500. He said that if drawings provided at the tender stage do not show the “designated outlines” on the tender drawing then you do not know what to price within the structure item, for example foundations, expansion joints etc. And you could price virtually nothing in the tender item as you would get a CE due to poor contract documentation. I don’t necessarily agree with this view as the design would show this level of detail but he firmly stands by his opinion of if there are no “designated outlines” you do not know what to price and he reckons he has successfully won this claim on previous contracts in the past.

Any comments appreciated

I can only answer this is generality as I do not have access to and am not familiar with the structure 2500 series or what “designated outlines” are

If the Works Information (NEC3) / Scope (NEC4) is vague, the Contractor can only price on what is in front of him in a minimal, but realistic manner. E.g. you show an outline of the structure, so I can assume that it would include for this, that and the other. So if the PM starts adding detail to that structure (it would be a compensation event) which the Contractor had not reasonably allowed for, then the Contractor could justify an increase in the Prices. That’s the theory.

The problem with this approach is that the subjectivity/vagueness in the original description will undoubtedly cause arguments over what the Contractor should have reasonably allowed for.

Having said this, can you clarify whether the ‘project manager’ (small ‘p’ & ‘m’) is the Project Manager under ECC or another individual e.g. the Contractor’s project manager and whether they are arguing for a big Price increase or none at all.

I think your question is actually about the method of measurement being used (which sounds like Method of Measurement for Highway Works) rather than the form of contract being used.

The only issue with regard to NEC is why you are using Option B if there is an element of the works (probably quite significant) which has not been designed to provide the level of detail that is really required for Option B? It would seem to me that Option A would be more suitable.