A Contractual Headache

(Because I know of at least one person who’ll just shake their head in disbelief at this).

A Client appoints a Contractor to carry out work for them on a Design & Build Contract. Said Contractor appoints a number of Sub-Contractors to carry out the packages, none of whom have a direct link to the Client.

As part of the documents supplied at Tender Stage the Client specifies a number of items that are only available through a single supplier in the UK. However, to avoid contractual problems (yeah, that really worked) the supplier is not a Named Supplier (which would create a legal link between them and the Client if things went wrong) nor a Nominated one, there is just the understanding that if the supplier isn’t used then the job will not be completed to the Clients satisfaction.

This Supplier as also agreed to rectify any issues with their goods (electrical) that occur within the first twelve months of operation.

Upon completion of the works the Contractor refuses to pay the Sub-Contractor for all of the works they have carried out stating that they were not completed to programme and caused a material delay – no certification was issued by any party (including ourselves) stating there was a late completion. In turn the Sub-Contractor refuses to pay the Supplier for all of the materials provided stating it was their late delivery that caused the problem.

Shortly afterwards said Supplier goes into administration (on an unrelated job) and sets up as another company trading under a different name. Although they have no legal obligation to do so they agree to honour the previous agreement with other Contractors (not this one) to rectify issues with goods in the first twelve months.

The Sub-Contractor fails to carry out planned maintenance on the project that leads to the catastrophic failure of the life safety systems. The Client threatens (justly) that the works need to be completed ASAP or else they will close the building and hit the Contractor with damages for loss of earnings.

The Contractor tells the Sub-Contractor to get it done, who in turn says “It’s not my fault, those guys over there who we have no contractual link to and to whim we have shown an unwillingness to pay for goods won’t give us the stuff for free!”

The Contractor barks at the Client “It’s your stupid Supplier, they’re not doing what they have no obligation to do!”

The Supplier says “Look, pay for stuff up front and we’ll give it to you, we have it in stack – just get your fucking cheque book out!”

This bun fight carries on for weeks – the building is still missing critical safety systems (although works for the bare minimum to allow it to operate have been carried out by another company when it becomes clear that the Contractor isn’t going to do anything).

The Contractor accuses everyone else of not being pro-active, but then refuses to attend meetings or try to engage with the problem.

I hit my head against the desk repeatedly during all of this. Why am I writing this down – because if I don’t I’m never going to remember why I shouldn’t work with certain contractors because they always pull this shit.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: