NEC3 ECSC - Project Manager failure to respond to a quotation

What remedy does the Contractor have if the Project Manager fails to respond to a Contractor’s quotation for a compensation event under the Engineering and Construction Short Contract? Unlike ECC where there are provisions to notify this fact and then after a period of further time they become “deemed accepted”. The fact the Employer has not responded would in itself be a compensation event but little use to the Contractor as unlikely to be any cost that they can apply as a result.


We need to be clear on terminology here. Under the ECSC the Contractor has a direct relationship with the Employer for all aspects of the administration of the contract.

As you have identified the ECSC is by design a lighter touch contract that does not contain all the mechanisms of the ECC. And as you rightly point out there is no deemed acceptance mechanism. Interestingly however there is a mechanism to allow a contractor to submit a quotation if the Employer omits to issue an appropriate instruction (see 62.1).

Clearly the NEC drafters did not anticipate that under a short contract such situations would occur. Nevertheless, in such circumstances your recourse probably rests within the general principle of contract law. The Employer is in breach of contract and it is likely that the situation will only become resolved (see also final paragraph below) when you come to settle the final account. In the interim your applications for payment will need to continue to assert your entitlement to the additoinal monies.

Whilst against the general ethos of the NEC contracts I note that unlike the ECC the ECSC does not contain the provision (27.3) for the contractor to obey the instructions of the Project Manager. You may consider using this as a mechanism to ‘up the anti’ with the Employer should further requirements be instructed. I realise that this would significantly change any relationship with your Employer but one might argue that an Employer that refused to acknowledge your entitlement was not interested in a relationship in any event.

The short answer is that there is very little in the ECSC that you can do other than to raise another CE and therefore you need to rely on relationships to get this situation resolved.