Must the Architect give the Contractor detailed reasons to explain an Extension of Time Determination under PAM 2006.

Must the Architect give the Contractor detailed reasons to explain an Extension of Time Determination under PAM 2006.

Under the PAM 2006 Standard Forms of Building Contract it requires the Contractor to give notice of delay to the Works as soon as it becomes reasonably apparent. The Contractor is also required to provide details of the delaying event and its likely effect and to provide the Architect with such further information as reasonably required.

With this information, the Architect must determine if an extension of time is warranted or not. As with most standard forms of contract PAM 2006 is very brief in its requirements with respect to the Architect’s determination and the form it should take. Generally it is common that the Contractor will receive a single sheet of paper notifying him of the Architects decision with respect to his application which may have been made up of numerous volumes of documents and supporting documentation submitted at the Architects request.

Understandably Contractors often request the Architect to provide details of his determination where an award falls short of the Contractors application. The Contractors again quite rightly wants the details of the way in which the Architect has calculated the extension of time. They want to know precisely why some of their delay notices apparently have been ignored.

Some Architects may decide to send very detailed responses and to receive, in return, detailed objections from Contractors. From the contractor’s point of view, it is obvious why it wants to see the architect’s reasoning. Only then can it start to build its case for the Architect or others to review the award.

From the Architects point of view there are a number of reasons why they consider it prudent not to provide detail particulars of their determination of an extension of time.

1)   The contract does not require it.

2)   It will simply provoke a series of exchanges with the contractor regarding something about which the architect must make the final decision under the contract.

3)   The contractor will find it more difficult to challenge an extension of time if the underlying reasons are not known.

This appears to be rather biased behave on the part of the Architect, but it must be remembered that the Architect has to fix an extension of time which is fair and reasonable. The Architect is called upon to exercise judgment and not to use a coldly logical approach. If the contractor, or indeed the employer, wishes to challenge the extension of time, the adjudication procedure provides a quick mechanism . In that forum, the architect, if required by the adjudicator, must provide reasons for the extension of time and the adjudicator must decide whether the contractor has sufficient grounds to challenge the architect’s determination. Many Contractors argue that adjudication is not the best avenue as the Architects governing body is responsible for selection of the adjudicator but this is known at the contract onset.

Where the Contractor is also claiming additional costs in relation to the extension of time the Architects calculation of these may provide an insight into the Architects logic in respect of the delays but this is not always the case as again the Architect may provide minimal information on his determination of financial awards.

MALCONLAW 2012

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