Stand downs and lack of notices - which CE entry?


Looking for some assistance here please. We are a subcontractor operating under an NEC 4 ECS Option A subcontract. The contractor has stood down our squad of operatives (4 men) and we also have standing time for plant and equipment. This stand down happened at 9.30am. Our issue is that the weather prevented work and the ops were stood down and were sitting in the canteen for half the day when they could have been utilised elsewhere. We feel that the contractor should have let us know earlier, rather than waiting for us to turn up to then tell us nobody can work. A stand down received in a timely manner would have allowed us to plan and send the squad somewhere else. Would this fall under 60.1.18 - breach of H & S obligations by contractor when looking to claim time/money?

Hi LeroyS,

I understand you are the Subcontractor in this scenario and the Contractor has in your view prevented you working because of the weather.

First question for me is, could you have carried out the works if the Contractor had not prevented you ?

I believe under the standard NEC4 Option A weather would be the Subcontractors risk, unless a weather measurement can be demonstrated which is shown to occur on average less frequently than once in ten years in which case you could raise a Compensation Event and demonstrate / recover the impact to both cost & time.

If it was the decision by the Contractor to not allow your workforce access because of the weather, but works could of been carried out, then I would suggest this could be an access event (60.1 (2)).

I cannot speak for when you should of been informed, i’m not sure how anyone could predict the weather, even the MET office struggles, but both parties could of informed each other of a potential impact i.e. based on weather reports and put in mitigation measures for this event.

On 60.1 (18), based on your question, i’m not clear what the relevance is to H&S obligations and the event you describe.

Hi QS007,

Thanks for your response. In answer to some of your questions, there is no way we could have continued the works. The snow was over a foot deep and the wind was too strong to clad. 60.1.2 would seem not to apply because there is no way the works could be done.

Regarding when we are to be informed, i’d suggest that given that the site opens at 7am, out of about 10 main contractor staff, one of them could have informed subcontractors that the site was not fit for working.

60.1.18 can be used to raise compensation events against implied common law and statute obligations the contractors and principal contractors have to comply with. They are under implied duties to cooperate with subcontractors and it is reasonable to assume that a basic stand down notice should have happened prior to subcontractors mobilising their squads. Principal contractors are also under H & S obligations via CDM regulations 2015 to ensure the site is fit for subcontractors. It would not be safe to have subcontractors working in such conditions, thus they should have recognised their implied obligations to issue a stand down notice in suitable time.

I believe I have just answered my own question with help from yourself, I think this falls under 60.1.18 as the most suitable heading.

1 Like