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Contractors are sometimes kept waiting on site by a disorganised principal or head contractor. Their usual response is to make a claim much later for the wasted cost of keeping idle labour and plant on site.


However, unless the contract requires the principal to ensure the contractor’s works will not be prolonged or disrupted, or to compensate the contractor for idle time, such a claim is unlikely to succeed.


In our view, the better way to deal with the cost of idle time (if you weren’t able to negotiate the clause described above into the contract) may be to claim a price variation based on changes to the construction program.  This is particularly so, if the project site is remote and you cannot just go and come back at the convenience of the disorganised principal or head contractor.


Be mindful that your price variation claim will be subject to the same time bars as any other.  Under most standard forms of contract, you would need to start by notifying the principal in writing of your opinion that the disruption constitutes a variation.  Then follow the (time barred) contractual steps for quoting, claiming (and perhaps then disputing) your claim for a price variation.


For advice and guidance about how to claim a price variation, seek specialist construction law advice such as that provided by HHG Legal Group’s team of specialist construction lawyers.  But don’t delay because if you miss a time bar under the contract, you may lose your right to claim a price variation forever.