Advantages and Disadvantages

1 Who Do You Contract With?

Okay, I get it, this is a simple concept, but what do you know about the organization you’re entering into a contract with? In addition, do they have the capacity to be able to pay you in the event of a need?

There will always be other factors to take into account when deciding whether to sign the contract. One of the most important it will be your work load at the moment. It’s obviously more efficient to make a decision during times of abundance.

A willingness to place your order only an aspect of what you should look for in a relationship with a potential customer. A customer that is likely to be insolvent or who can’t or won’t pay is worse than none at all and a customer who is slow to pay, is unreasonable in reductions or sets off money in a way that is unfair, could prove to be the worst nightmare you’ve ever had!

It is not enough to rely on the size you see in the customer. Some large companies do not are able to pay their debts on time and some national contractors are among the worst creditors of all.

If you’ve worked for the same company before, you will have a pretty accurate idea of whether or not they pay promptly or are quick make deductions or raise compensations.

However, don’t assume that since that the Manchester Office that is part of XYZ the national company is reliable payer and has a good reputation, the same is true to the Bristol office. It all depends on the particulars within the company as well as within each branch. The success or failure of a project will depend on your relationships with the people in an organization rather than the inherent culture of the company itself.

As a minimum and trade references must be followed up. But, I would suggest making as detailed an enquiry as possible from the other Specialist Sub-Contractors that have been employed by this company. You should inquire about the culture of the company and whether they have been helpful or not to their sub-contractors in respect of the payment process. Visit:-

Ask about individuals involved and whom you can and should not trust. Find out whether it is easy to negotiate interim proposals or variations, and whether they are prone to making cuts or set-offs. Of course, inquire whether they’re paid in time.

Don’t be shy in making these requests or worried the fact that they could cause an offence to prospective customers. In well run, objective organizations, nothing could be more than the truth, and reputable companies will respect your professionalism.

2 Scope of the Works

This might seem like a simple thing, but you’d be amazed at how many disputes I’ve resolved in the case of Specialist Sub-Contractors where the Sub-Contractor and the Contractor disagreed about the scope of work included by the Contract.

I understand that it’s an inconvenience, but you do this at your peril. Be sure to check that what you thought had been agreed during the negotiation and tender prior to the contract period, has included in the contract.

Verify that the Contractor or Client isn’t making reference to documents or specifications that you don’t have, and be wary of terms such as “necessarily implied from”.

I’ve seen this clearly used by a contractor to deliberately include work into the scope of my client that my client was not priced. At a seminar in which I presented this scenario, one of the participants informed the story of his young son who was in training to be a QS with one of the biggest Contractors. The son of the father had informed the instructor that he had learned on how to utilize this exact technique!

If you are unsure, go back to the Contractor or Client and ensure that the document you signed is accurate and reflects what was agreed upon. It is essential to communicate by writing the contractor the price you’ve set to perform before you begin work on site or perform design work or anything else that might be considered to be acceptance. Don’t sign any documents until you’re satisfied that they only refer to the scope of works that you’ve priced.

3 time/program

Time is a tricky timer to master!

Check first if you are going to have one start and finish date or are going to have to complete your work in parts. If the work is to be done in sections, you should be particularly careful. Make sure the start date as well as any notice to start time frame is exactly what you had agreed upon and be wary of large “windows” to start the work. I have witnessed clients being asked to agree to a 3 month window for starting the works on just a few days notice!

Make sure the period for the completion of the work is clearly stated and confirms the work that has been agreed upon. Don’t agree to “work according to the Contractor’s plan” or “as as per our site’s requirements” as well as any type of words that Contractors can twist the meaning of and then use against you!