In reading articles posted in this blog, I hope it is impressed upon you to understand the risks you are accepting in your contract and what to do if you encounter a risk, as well as those risks you are flowing down or allocating to your subcontractors. Construction is inherently risky so you want to know what to do when you encounter certain situations or occurrences, and in certain circumstances, you want to factor the costs associated with certain accepted risks in your contract amount.
When it comes to subcontracts, there are provisions that contractors want to include in their subcontracts that subcontractors need to note:
- The schedule – the contractor will want to include provisions that any baseline schedule is not written in stone and that it has the discretion to resequence the progress of the work. This is an understood event since the contractor is responsible for managing the work so subcontractors should account for this contingency.
- No damage for delay – the contractor will want to include a no-damage-for-delay provision that provides it is not responsible for any delay-related damages and that the subcontractor’s only recourse for a delay will be an extension of time. The provision may also state that the contractor’s liability for any delay will be limited by the amount it receives by the owner associated with the delay.
- Change orders – There will be a change order issue at some point. The subcontractor needs to understand the change order procedure so proper notice is given regarding the change order work before proceeding with that work. And, if the subcontractor is directed to proceed with work (through a change order directive) or there is a dispute as to the amount or time associated with the change, the subcontractor needs to understand that it needs to track and itemize its costs associated with the change.
- Claims – If a subcontractor is delayed / impacted or there is an event triggering change order work, as mentioned above, the subcontractor needs to submit timely notice of the event or occurrence. Otherwise, there may be an argument that this event or occurrence is waived. The contractor will argue that the notice provision is important so that it can ensure it timely submits notice to the owner pursuant to the prime contract and a subcontractor’s failure to comply with the notice provision prejudiced the contractor.
Provided below is an example of contractual provisions that fit within the above four categories. These provisions may be analogous to provisions in the subcontract you are working under or, if you are a general contractor, may be provisions you want to consider including in your subcontract. Remember, the objective is to know those risks you are accepting, those risks to flow down or allocate to the subcontractor, and, importantly, what to do if you encounter a risk!!
Also, please share any examples of contractual provisions that you have come across that fit within these categories. The more examples the merrier when it comes to understanding the types of risks that are frequently dealt with and allocated between a contractor and subcontractor.
Please contact David Adelstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.