Letters of Intent: Still Crazy After All These Years?

by Melanie Grimmitt

Reviewing the wealth of commentary on the use of letters of intent in construction contracts, one might speculate that at the time the pyramids were being built some well-intentioned Egyptian lawyer was earnestly hammering out hieroglyphics warning his contemporaries of the potentially dire consequences of commencing construction works without a concluded contract in place. Nevertheless, despite the plentiful guidance cautioning contractors against relying on letters of intent which has been produced by legal professionals in more modern times, a significant proportion of construction projects do, in fact, proceed on the basis of a letter of intent. This practice is particularly common within the UAE and the wider Gulf Region. [Read more…]

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Record what happened, when it happened – the importance of ‘contemporary records’

by Sachin Kerur

A large part of the administration of a construction contract comprises a contractor seeking genuine contractual entitlements for additional time and costs and the determination and award or rejection of those claimed entitlements by the engineer/employer. As a result, contractor’s claims for extensions of time and additional costs are also often the subject of arbitral proceedings and litigation. [Read more…]

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Liquidated Damages in PPP Transactions

by Melanie Grimmitt

One of the most interesting aspects of working in different jurisdictions is seeing how different regions approach the same issues in different ways – both legally and commercially. An example of this in the context of PPP transactions, is the differing approach taken in the UK and the Middle East in respect the inclusion of delay liquidated damages regimes in Project Agreements. [Read more…]

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When is it safe to terminate under a contract?

by Vincent Connor

Volcanoes – we have rather a lot of them in Asia, but even we’ve been obsessing about the infamous Icelandic one, this week. Though 6000 or more miles away from the action, Japanese car manufacturers relying on components from Ireland and Korean mobile phone suppliers ready to send their wireless wares to a waiting world, have been among those frustrated as the volcanic ash cloud has choked airfreight routes. Which got me thinking…not so much about force majeure (I’ll leave that to my holidaying partners examining their insurance documents to seek support for their compensation claims!) but about the options a contracting party faces when the party with whom he’s entered into an agreement has breached a material provision (say, a delivery date): should he accept that party’s repudiation and sue for damages or simply terminate it in accordance with the procedure provided for in the agreement? [Read more…]

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When is a Termination not a Termination?

by Sarah Thomas

Answer: when it’s an affirmation. Consider the questions which Shell raised in an appeal case recently decided by the High Court (commented on by Connor in his last post): [Read more…]

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The ‘notices’ provision

by Dennis Brand
Many of you will deal with industry-standard form contracts, while others will deal with company standard or even bespoke forms; whatever the form of contract, the notices provision contained in the conditions of contract is probably one of the least-read provisions. The notices provision does not attract the same degree of interest as, say, the variation or change order provisions, or provisions which deal with certificates of completion, suspension or even termination, but in each case a notice is required.

[Read more…]

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Leading causes of project failure in region


The majority of respondents pointed to improper planning and methodology (78 per cent), lack of communication (75 percent), and unrealistic target completion dates (67 percent) as the top three contributing factors to project failure. They also identified inadequate commitment and involvement from senior management (59 percent), insufficient budgets and resources (56 percent), too many assumptions and unknowns (51 percent), project politics and conflicts (38 percent), lack of set targets or measurable results (45 percent), and the formation of the wrong project team (27 percent) as other major causes. [Read more…]

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by Júlio César Bueno

Federal Law No. 11079, 2004 [PPP LAW] instituted the general rules for bidding and contracting of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) within the realm of public administration. This is an important volley in the Brazilian government efforts to develop funding and management alternatives for public works in furtherance of the bidding system instituted by the Federal Law No. 8666, 1993 [Brazilian BIDDING LAW] and to reduce the state presence in the Brazilian economy. [Read more…]

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A Growing Trend in French Construction Law? The Recognition of Mandatory Rules by the Court of Cassation

by Joanne Clarke

In a judgment dated February 25, 2009 (Cour de cassation, civ. 3, 25 February 2009, No. P07-20.096), the Court of cassation, the highest court in the French judiciary, confirmed its previous decisions (Cour de cassation, chambre mixte, 30 November 2007, No. 06-14.006; Cour de cassation, 3e civ., 30 January 2008, No. 06-14.641) according to which certain provisions of the French Law on Subcontracting dated December 31, 1975 are mandatory, and as such are to be applied even when French law is not the governing law chosen by the parties to the contract. [Read more…]

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Are Project Managers Overrated?

Not everyone believes in project managers. Some common complaints include:

  • They focus on planning and processes, and in the end, don’t produce anything of value.
  • They speak using business and project management double-talk, and produce only papers, charts,
    graphs, analysis, etc, to justify why no actual product was going into production.
  • They have a lack of real experience in the subject area, and they do not know how to actually build a final deliverable. [Read more…]

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