NEC ECC: Project Manager refusing to extend the Working Area

I am currently working for a contractor on a project which is suffering significant delays due to issues with the Works Information which contained incomplete and uncoordinated design.

In the Contract Data, the Working Area is defined as the site.

Due to the issues with the Works Information and the significant number of RFI’s we have had to issue, revised drawings/PMI’s received and the general additional administration associated, we sought to extend the Working Area to add specific areas of our head office where key personnel involved in the project are located during part of their week.

The PM has rejected all requests stating that it not necessary to add this area and if we felt it necessary for certain personnel to work on the project in order to provide the works, the these people should be placed within the current working area.

We are not local to the project and by placing all necessary staff on the project, this would incur additional costs associated with salary uplifts, accommodation, travel etc and we would only recover a portion relative to CE’s. It would also increase the Defined Cost of People in relation to any CE’s where they can be recovered. It is our opinion that it I not necessary to based these personnel full time on site as at least part of their role can be carried out from head office such as the planner, document control, quantity surveyor etc.

This requirement could not have been envisaged at tender as we had assumed we would have a complete design with only minor changes to the design, not the significant delay or additional resource the project now requires.

This matter will no doubt end in dispute, but is the PM being unreasonable in his refusal to extend the Working Areas and should he be taking into consideration the quantum of RFI’s/PMI’s? It is worth noting that the PM in issuing PMI’s has never notified them as a CE and has generally failed to correctly administer all aspects of the contract unless it is to the advantage of the Employer and this is no doubt driving his decision making on the Working Areas.

Apologies for the lengthy question!

It looks like you are under a ‘lump sum’ form (option A or B), which means, as you say, that the People cost essentially relates to compensation event quotations.

This can be an issue on a main option C, D or E, whereby the concern for such a location, from an Employer / PM’s perspective, is the fact that they are not able to access a reliable source of information to verify both who is working on the project and when.

I would guess that the PM is not accepting your proposal for the reason that the location is used for work not in the contract. In isolation, this is a valid reason under the contract, however, clearly the intentions have changed with the significant level of design issues and compensation events.

I would suggest giving an early warning to notify that this matter (the ‘non-acceptance’) could increase your total cost and then hopefully discuss your concerns at a risk reduction meeting. Try to consider other ways in which this matter could be dealt with rather than just as a ‘one or the other’ approach.