Why construction is like doing the hokey-cokey

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  1. The irony of a iawyer urging other professionals/constructors to offer “clear objective performance standards” appears to have escaped Ms Fox.

  2. Most problems I’ve seen on projects are a combination of things.

    Frequently a lack of experience, often enough in the people running a project, combined with a refusal to face up to problems when it would make a difference, as no one wants to take responsibility for delaying the project.

    I know on the project I’m currently working on, I’ve been highlighting the same design problems in some cases for over 2 years now, and we’re still struggling to get our Architects and Engineers, and indeed client, to take them seriously, as the design contracts were a disaster in being set up, then not managed at all.

    We’re now in a position where it may cost serious money to rectify design problems, or the client will end up with a building that won’t work as intended.

  3. It would have been helpful if Divid offered a more constructive response to Ms Fox’s very objective insight to the significance of contracts. I couldn’t agree more with Ms Fox that most contracts are not created with the output in mind. What I gather from speaking with professionals particularly in engineering and construction sector is that they leave the responsibility of contract wording to the legal department. Hence the “smart” contract alluded to by Sarah is not common place. I often will demonstrate how PM can use contracts to achieve Win-Win and NOT 50:50 in my lectures.

  4. As contract drafter’s role is to help their clients do business. Often clients prefer to rely on the market norm to minimise the time and cost of contract negotiations. The current market norm is subjective standards like those mentioned in my piece. What I advocate is for the market norm to change which requires a collective preference for objective standards. If we can make a change, why not?

  5. I strongly agree with Ejohwomu that all contracts are being drafted to meet certain objectives, the problem is how contracts are drafted ? though. this is what Sara pointed out in her last post too. this issue emanates from the complexity of construction process itself which makes it a daunting task to embed these objectives while minding the process and its complexity. If the client for example sets as an objective that he wants to be involved in quality assurance of the built product this transforms into tens of clauses and contractual requirements depending on another set of tens of boundary conditions, there is always that dichotomous relation between the legal and technical contents of construction contracts; we need either lawyers who are technically trained on techs who are legally trained or a process that ensures that knowledge of both is built in in the contract; definitely it is a pure proce-specific issue

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