On a build only contract, a Contractor has no contractual design responsibilities. This is also an Option A lump sum contract.
If you are issued designs at the start of the project, but find missing information on it a time-period (months) down the line, where do you stand contractually?
If a Technical Query (TQ) stems from missing/ incomplete design information, but you raise it late in the project - is it still a design related issue? If this drives out your critical path - is it concurrent (should have raised TQ earlier) or does it sit with the design (given that it is not useable to build the works)?
Morally, I appreciate you should raise issues as soon as possible - to mitigate delay. However, is this the same contractually? Of course, NEC does not recognise TQ’s, but in terms of risk management… where do you stand contractually?
Contractually, I would advise you to raise these ASAP as early warnings. Why ?
Because by the words of the contract, that is what they are ! And if, as a Contractor, you don’t give an early warning as soon as you become aware of it, then it might reduce the assessment of any resulting compensation event.
The argument against this is that it will ‘flood’ the early warning process and the project participants will not be able to see the wood from the trees … therefore you ‘should’ have a separate early warning & TQ/RFI process. This can be overcome by categorising early warnings : as well as urgent & needs immediate attention; can wait till next formal ew / risk reduction meeting etc; one of these categories is TQs/RFIs which are forwarded to the designers to deal with. If not dealt with, they get escalated. Regardless, from the Contractor’s point of view, you have given the EW and can’t suffer a reduced assessment.