I want to re-visit my previous comments about records. Keeping records of contracts is vital. You might need to rely on this at some point in time to substantiate a claim for additional work, extensions of time and delays and disruption costs etc. Another key factor nowadays is that I see disputes emerging on contracts that were concluded 3-4 years ago, so your records need to be collated and stored and archived, because you never know when you might need them. I had an experience recently when a client received a claim on a project, and they had destroyed all of their records, including all e mail correspondence and they could not defend the claim.

So, the question you are no doubt asking is what records should we keep? I am currently working with a client to develop an operating manual of site records to be used by the onsite contract management team. The first thing we did was to explain to both contract and commercial management why record keeping is so important, and what they need to record. Some folks find all of this a nuisance because they want to get on with building the project. However, when they get into this it just becomes a daily commitment to record what is going on.

The type of records you will need include: daily labour plant and material returns, sign in/out attendance book; absence sheets; weather records; CVI’s; RFI forms; daily diaries; minutes of meetings; email traffic ccd to commercial manager on the project; daily photographs, all dated and annotated if necessary; videos, if necessary; daywork sheets.; template delay letters; template records of disruption etc.

Bear in mind that all of this information will be necessary to support any claims you might have for any claims your organisations is formulating. This is something I look at continually when I am asked to assess the strength of a client’s case for recovery of additional costs.

Protecting electronic records is especially important and I have seen a number of situations where someone has left an organisation, and their parting gift was to wipe all records off a computer, so these need to be stored safely.

So, the key message to FIS Members is RECORDS, RECORDS, RECORDS

FIS Contractual and Legal Toolkit
As well as our vocal stance on unfair payment practices, FIS members can access a range of services to support them in managing the complexities of contracting and supplying products into the construction market, this includes template contracts, guidance on standard terms, support in dealing with disputes and a raft of best practice advice.

FIS publishes short blogs by its Consultant Len Bunton on contractual and commercial issues he experiences when supporting FIS members and the wider community – it is designed to help FIS Members avoid common traps and build on the FIS focus on collective experience. The blogs are published fortnightly as FIS member only content and released to SpecFinish two weeks after publication.

Len provides an initial free one hour consultation to FIS members to discuss and review specific issues and to help develop a strategy to address. Should further advice and support be necessary, thereafter then Len will agree the necessary fee levels with each FIS member.

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