NEC ECC: Under the NEC what does "Access Date" mean

We are working on a contract (NEC3 ECC Option B) that is based on a number of Access dates and Key Dates to various areas.

There is a confusion in the team regarding the meaning of Access date in the contract. My view (Planner) is that Access date means that on that date the full scope of works will be available for the subcontractor to work on in order to achieve the Key Date.

The PM’s view is that the client, despite giving access to the work area can release work at any time during the access date and key date leaving us exposed to the risk of not achieving the Key Date.

We are doing fire stopping works on a building so there is no real logic to it. But in order to deliver efficiently and to budget there needs to be a certain volume of work available per week to ensure continuity.

Could anyone please clarify whose view is correct.

Unless there are either a number of access dates giving access to different parts of the building, your interpretation is correct.

However, there may be further constraints on access stated in the Works Information (NEC3) / Scope (NEC4), which you would need to comply with. If there are not, then the Project Manager need to issue an instruction changing/adding the constraints or instructing you to stop parts of the works. Both of these circumstances are a compensation event.

Taking the PM’s views to the extreme - wouldn’t it be crazy to think they can give you access on day one and tick the box, then basically stop you working until the day before Completion and then make it your problem that you have to do all the works in a day?

As well as any compensation events I would recommend some clear early warnings along the way emphasising that any restrictions could be causing issues to make sure they understand and see what collectively can be done.

Access means that the date/S shown within a Contract Data part 1 should allow full access to the site to undertake your works. It is a Compensation Event if access is not provided in accordance with the contract. However, there may be no impact upon the programme, depending on whether access is provided in accordance with the Last Accepted Programme. So the CE could be accepted but with Nil impact. As has been stated, keep a close eye on access requirements and raise EWN’s / NCE’s as required, but ensure the WI does not specify anything different, or the Z clause amendments don’t change any grounds for NCE’s related to access!