Even if you don’t live in or near London, it has been difficult to avoid news of Crossrail. With funding of almost £16 billion and over 10,000 people working across over 40 construction sites it is Europe’s largest construction project.
However, it is not only the headline grabbing numbers and elements that make up the project. Crossrail report that of the companies working on Crossrail, 62% are based outside London and 58% are small and medium sized businesses, with many likely to be ACE Members.
The project is continuing to make progress, with tunnelling activities recently finished and Crossrail reporting that two thirds of all construction activities are now complete. The project is still scheduled to open in 2018 and, to date, we have not seen a flurry of high profile disputes as have been generated by other landmark projects, such as the Midland Expressway and Wembley Stadium. The widespread use of the NEC family of contracts on the project will be going someway to ensuring all involved work together to achieve completion. However, it is likely that claims will be coming as the time and money available to reach completion begin to run low.
Consultants and engineers can often find themselves caught up in such claims even where they are not at fault, with payments often drying up as completion approaches. There are a number of steps that ACE Members can take to ensure they are prepared:
- Know your contract – payment and compensation event provisions are key;
- Issue applications and notices on time – ensure that any time limits or conditions precedent are met; and
- Keep proper records – ensure that these follow the contractual requirements.