(The Diaries of a Quantum Expert acting as a PQS – Chapter 2)

Earlier in this series, I explained all about an aggressive contractor. This aggression followed the submission of a spurious and grossly inflated loss and expense claim. The claim followed the award of an extension of time and my resultant valuation.

The contractor was entitled to recovery of its genuine costs, but not its assessment of circa £1 million more than my valuation. In addition to this, the variation account was over valued by around £100,000. This was all submitted on an interim basis during the programme, the adjudication came later, at the final account stage.

The relationship on the commercial side between the employer’s agent and the contractor had broken down and was irretrievable – all trust had gone. We had to go back to fist principles and rely on the drafting of the contract. The position required the careful protection of the client’s funds, whilst ensuring the contractor had sufficient cash flow to fulfil its contractual obligations. Protecting the client’s interests is of course one of the top priorities of a PQS.

One of my first CPD training sessions as a trainee QS was titled ‘Records, Records, Records’. The mantra was famously coined by the late engineer and construction lawyer, Max Abrahamason. I prefer to speak to people first and where necessary record the conversation in writing. Knowing there was a dispute down the line, this was to prove crucial in this particular matter.

In addition to this it was vital to set clear boundaries. As an example, I looked at the contract valuation dates and noticed that the contractor’s payment schedule did not reflect the terms of the contract. They were arranged in favour of the contractor. I therefore drafted my own (corrected) version of the valuation schedule. This edition was in line with the contract and issued to all parties. Whilst this was ultimately accepted, it was not without further argument from the contractor.

Whist protecting my client was of the utmost importance, valuing the account fairly was also paramount.

Categories: Case Study