That includes those responsible for the bottom line in projects that fail to be completed on time – some, like Holyrood, quite spectacularly – and those contractors who regularly have to reserve 10% or more of their gross annual turnover against unresolved delay claims. All in all, the industry loses an estimated £8.6bn a year from unmanaged delay.
The change management supplements have been produced to enable the widely acclaimed SCL Delay and Disruption Protocol to be put to practical use. They will not always be appropriate. In those projects where the timing of completion is not a significant issue (and there might be some) or those where liquidated damages are a sufficient protection, or the employer and contractor lack the commercial gumption to manage their risks responsibly rather than resorting to lengthy litigation.
On the other hand, for most public sector clients and private developers, the supplements help to resolve the employer's dilemma of how to manage risks under a construction contract.
As a plaintiff observed in the case of Masons vs WD King: "It is quite common for contractors not to produce satisfactory programmes throughout the job, but rather to produce them retrospectively at the end of the job when they actually begin to litigate or arbitrate extension of time claims." Little use that is to the employer who wants to be able to manage his exposure to the risk of delay.
Many lawyers may find the change management supplements difficult to understand. But they are not intended for lawyers; they are written for the thousands of employers and contractors who need to manage their risks without recourse to litigation. The true construction professionals seeking to manage their client's risk appropriately, and to plan and manage the progress of the works will find these supplements a useful, practical tool. For them the change management supplements will not only read easy, but will help them to sleep easy.
Keith Pickavance, Julian Critchlow and Nicholas Gould of Fenwick Elliott, via email