NEC3 ECC: CEs after Completion Date (Access restrictions to site)

Works have continued well past the Completion Date due to Contractor delay (there is no dispute on this). During the works after the Completion Date the Employer has had occasion when access can not be allowed to the site on temporary basis. Normally this would constitute a CE under 60.1(2), but as the works should have finished before the access restrictions occurred is it still a CE, and if so how should it be valued?

The Contractor’s rights to a compensation event are separate from the Employer’s rights to provide access to the Site.

The Employer has to continue to provide the Contractor access to the Site in order for him to complete the works, his obligation in this regard is stated at clause 33.1. If this wasn’t the case then the Employer could prevent the Contractor from completing the works and not be in breach of contract. It would make no sense if, having strictly complied with clause 33.1 in the first place, the Employer could later prevent access without the Contractor having a remedy through a compensation event. So we have to assume access has to be given at the required time AND continue as long as is necessary for the Contractor to complete the works. If this isn’t explicit from clause 33.1, it is fairly safe to assume that this would be an implied term.

So based on this we can also assume that in your example a compensation event has occurred under clause 60.1(2). The relevant question is did the Employer not allow access by the later of access date and date for access shown on the Accepted Programme? He did allow access initially but has now withdrawn it. Alternatively, it could be argued that it’s a compensation event under clause 60.1(18) if 60.1(2) was found inadequate.

However, that isn’t the end of things; you also need to look at clause 61.4 which are the reasons for the PM to not accept a compensation event. It sounds like you are certain that the reason for delay is of the Contractor’s own making? In which case the first bullet point in clause 61.4 applies as the reason access was prevented was the Contractor’s fault in the first place, essentially he’d put the Employer in the position of having to prevent access. So no, I wouldn’t say this was a compensation event and as such there’s no need to have to think about how to value it.