Why every building project needs help managing the risks and rewards of a construction claim
The problem with a claim on a construction project, whether it’s a South Devon bungalow that you’re building or a skyscraper in Dubai, is that you won’t have budgeted for it.
Claims are not unusual on big construction projects. You may have heard us say before that in some countries more than 100 claims arise in each mega construction project. In our team’s experience, the highest numbers of claims and modifications totalled 6,000 items at one of the largest department stores in the world.
Even the most sensible or affluent of us will not have budgeted to mediate or fight one or several claims. Not least because you cannot predict what will go wrong and how much is will cost to defend. All you can know is that if you’re doing a project worth doing, chances are there will be a disagreement somewhere along the line. That goes for the project owners, the builders and the contractors out there.
So what can you do about a situation you cannot possibly predict?
The first thing is to have someone on your team who understands the processes.
This is exactly what we do. Our team has an unsurpassed reputation for successfully defending clients who experience exactly these issues. Our role is to forensically investigate the real reasons underpinning a delay, cost over-runs or whatever the root of the problem is and seek to represent our client whilst restoring reputations and recovering the costs.
Furthermore, should the nexus of the problems be found to be the result of someone else, we can (and do) seek restitution in situations where delays lead to inconvenience and economic loss.
So that deals with the potential outlay that an error or miscommunication could cause.
But what about the cost of dealing with the claim?
While it’s all very well to have the representation on side who can make sure that any costs incurred by a fault are recovered, there is still the matter of fighting the claim. Ideally at this point we will be keeping your project on track and it won’t have come to a grinding halt as a result of the issues, but while you’re fighting with one hand and building with another, your cash-flow can take a serious hit.
This is a concern that we have always had great empathy with our clients on. We know that they will recover their costs, but we are practical people and understand the strain that cash-flow can put on both projects and individuals.
For this reason we set about making a significant change in the market and the way construction claims are handled by setting up Quantura, our unique model for covering the upfront costs of handling a claim, similar to the ‘no win no fee’ model. An industry first, it is the only company to provide claimants with a true “no win, no fee” alternative to the traditional approach where claims consultants are paid their fees irrespective of their performance or the outcome of the claim.
Why? Because it doesn’t matter how big, how well organised or how careful you are, construction is an industry where ‘stuff happens’ but that’s not a reason to hide under the covers and change our careers. It’s a reason to have a plan, a support network and a cheeky Ace in your back pocket – just in case.