ADBP present Dredging Contract Dispute Avoidance Paper at CEDA Dredging Days 2015

Two members of Anthony D Bates Partnership (ADBP), Colm Sheehan and Martin Maloney, recently drafted a paper pertaining to the field of dispute avoidance in dredging projects. The paper was based on the decades of experience garnered by the ADBP dredging consultancy in over 400 projects. This paper was accepted and was recently presented to the delegates at CEDA Dredging Days in Rotterdam.

Dredging is a unique and niche industry of civil engineering and therefore has distinctive associated issues. The meticulous drafting of a dredging contract document is crucial in ensuring that the works are completed as required by the client but also that all parties are aware of the conditions under which the works are tendered and must be undertaken. While general conditions of contract are sufficient to provide the basis of a contract, detailed and experienced dredging knowledge is required to ensure the specification of the works is adequate to allow contractors to develop appropriate work method statements for the specific site and tender on a fully informed basis. Every endeavour must be made to remove contractual ambiguity. The comprehensive paper assesses the specification for each of the key topics that can result in disputes or claims. These include:

· Dredged material specification;

· Measurement specification;

· Tolerance and slope specification;

· Overflow and sedimentation specification;

· Levelling specification;

· Data provision specification;

· Demurrage specification;

· Volume variation specification.

Whilst a majority of disputes are due to geotechnical discrepancies all of the above topics are also potential causes of grievances. By ensuring that each of the above topics is adequately defined in the contract the majority of disputes can be eliminated or at least minimised. Also, timely awareness of these issues are fundamental to the drafting of the dredging contract as they may influence baseline activities required to be undertaken well in advance of the publication of any contract. Furthermore, an adequately specified dredging contract will remove ambiguity, allowing more balanced and competitive tendering. In conjunction with succinctly highlighting the specific issues in each of the topics above, their potential impacts were also discussed.

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Example, Unforeseen boulder clay can severely hinder a project

Example of cutter head debris; also may result in increased clay clogging