NEC ECC: Labour mobilised in stoppage period

NEC3 ECC Option C, construction phase of the project. An event stopped all works for approximately 10 months before the works resumed. It was unclear for how long the stand down period would last when the event started to occur through the first period of the event (Compensation Event 1). On the 4th month of the event, following realisation that works could not resume for another 4 months, the first Compensation Event was capped, and a second Compensation Event (Compensation Event 2) was raised, including a provisional date to resume production and introducing the requirement for a 5 weeks’ notice confirming this and instructing re-mobilisation of resources required for the works. Event is the responsibility of the Contractor.

During the 10 month delay, the Subcontractor was asked to mitigate costs to a minimum, but not demobilise from site completely. The Subcontractor kept the site setup, off-hired all possible equipment and, where possible moved their directly employed to other projects to mitigate the projects costs.

The Subcontractor was not able to utilise the directly employed labour on other projects without additional expenditure for the full period of delay, thus having towards the end of the delay period (under Compensation Event 2), served and EWN notifying mobilisation of directly employed labour, approx. 20 days before planned mobilisation date (responded by the contractor in 6 days highlighting this cost would be disallowed). This was finally remobilised without any works available, notice agreed under CE2 and contractually required supervision.

Further CE’s have been raised (3 and 4) to cope with further delays in site access.
Are the costs incurred with the labour, mobilised without the Contractor’s 5 weeks’ notice and knowing that no works would be available, recoverable under the Option C?

Thank you for your time in advance.

It looks like the issue stems from the ‘notice requirement’ which was introduced under CE2, to be issued by the Contractor to the Subcontractor, with a 5 week period of notification to (re-)start work.

Although it was stated, in response to the early warning notification, that costs would be ‘disallowed’, it is difficult to see how this can be implemented under the terms of the contract, unless this matter complies with one of the stated bullet points for Disallowed Cost (not used to Provide the Works possibly comes to mind).

If the Subcontractor had known at the beginning that works were due to be postponed for 10 months then their actions could well have been different, but the problem is that they were required to ‘hang on’ and ‘see what happens’. This uncertainty makes it an extremely difficult situation to plan for.

I would suggest discussing this matter with the Subcontractor, in conjunction with agreement of the compensation event quotations. If they are not ‘happy’ with the outcome they retain the right to terminate the contract, which may cause you further problems…