NEC3 ECC Opt A - Omissions from Site Information

We have Sewer laying scheme. Part of the works is to construct a new manhole around/on top of the existing sewer at the point the new sewer meets the old.

The existing sewer was found to have a concrete surround to the top and sides of the pipe, which the contractor believes to be an integral structural element of the existing sewer. To construct the new manhole. the concrete surround had to be broken out carefully using hand tools rather than excavator & pecker, so as not to damage the live sewer.

The Site Information provided at tender stage did not include a cross section of the existing sewer construction, only a plan of the route detailing the sewer diameter and pipe material. The Contractor had expected to encounter a more standard sewer construction of pipe bedding bed & surround with sub-base/as dug material above that, rather than concrete.

The Contractor believes the event to be a CE and would like the PM to issue an instruction under clause 60.1(1) presumably along the lines of “Please construct manhole X around existing sewer which has concrete surround”.

The PM believes the event is not a CE and if it were a CE it would fall under 60.1(12), which has been deleted from the contract. The PM maintains that there has been no change to the Works Information. The manhole to be constructed is in the same location and the same depth, diameter etc. as the drawings referenced in the contract.

Other relevant contract information;

Clause 60.2 has been heavily amended. Paraphrasing - no unexpected physical condition or obstruction entitles the Contractor to an addition to the Total of the Prices or change to the Completion Date. NB the Contractor believes the concrete surround to be neither a physical condition nor obstruction, but an integral part of the existing sewer.

Clause 60.3 has been deleted from the contract.

From what you say - with clause 60.1 (12) for physical conditions deleted - the key question is “is the end result of hat the Contractor has to construct different ?”.

If the answer is 'Yes, then it is a change to the Works Information.

Having said that, another avenue could be that the Contractor cannot construct it within the constraints of the Works Information. Again, if that is the case, it would be a CE under clause 60.1 (1).

Just to add to what Jon has said, there is no particular obligation to provide a cross section of the existing sewer within the Site Information, unless specifically required under CDM Regulations. I note the deletion of clause 60.1 (12) and that the ‘loop has been closed’ by the amendments to the wording of clause 60.2 as well. Unfortunately the Contractor’s expectation of a ‘standard sewer construction’ is not really relevant either, especially with the amendments to the ‘physical conditions’ provisions.

You don’t state who is undertaking the design for the works, which may be an avenue to pursue. As Jon has said, a change to the Works Information under 60.1 (1) is your best bet.

Thank you for your answers Jon and Andrew.

Andrew the design was undertaken by an external consultant on behalf of the Employer/Client.

I actually work for the Employer and have (prior to asking the question here) communicated to the Contractor that the PM did not believe the event to be a CE as the Works Information has not changed.

Jon - to answer your question the Contractor has not had to construct the manhole differently (it’s the same size and in the same location). The only difference here is that the excavation/breaking out to get the manhole on top of the sewer pipe was more difficult than the Contractor had anticipated.

With the above said, I would appreciate any further comments either of you have on whether you believe the event to be a CE.