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Contractors' Claims: Onerous Pre-conditions in the Irish Public Works Contracts

Paper number

Patricia Hill

July 2009

A paper presented to the Society of Construction Law and and the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Cork on 17th November 2008.

The new suite of lump sum public sector construction standard forms introduced in Ireland in 2007 follows a general trend: the forms attempt to limit claims by the contractor for extra time, money or both by imposing strict time-limits and notice requirements on the contractor, as well as by defining delay events and compensation events limitatively and narrowly. In this paper, Patricia Hill analyses these developments. She explains how these aims are reflected in the drafting of the clauses; how the provisions may be expected to work in practice, including before the courts; and what contractors need to do in order to be ready to comply with the time-bars and information requirements, if they are to have success in making claims under the new contracts. The paper includes the text of key provisions of the Irish standard forms.

Introduction - the new Irish forms - Relevant clauses of the contract - Interpretation of contracts - Clause 10.3 of the Irish public works contract - Background: case law on notice requirements - Courts' likely approach to clause 10.3 - Discretion of employer's representative - Can the conditions precedent be avoided? - Conclusions.

Patricia Hill is a barrister practising in Dublin, Ireland.

Text 23 pages and Appendices 10 pages.