China: EPC工程FIDIC合同通用条件之雇主索赔研究

Last Updated: 1 April 2019
Article by DeHeng Law Offices
Most Read Contributor in China, April 2019

在一带一路背景下,EPC建设工程项目是我国企业走出国门参与沿线国家建设的重要模式之一。国内相关索赔研究大都集中于承包商作为索赔主体,但雇主并不是通常所认为的那样处于优势。本文主要通过对FIDIC《银色合同通用条件》第2.5款"雇主的索赔"的总规定及相关格式条款分析,从雇主角度,将分散的雇主索赔通用条件从缺陷索赔和期限索赔进行集中解读,并对雇主索赔的其他费用、雇主索赔的其余条款、雇主解除合同三个方面也进行解读,探讨雇主索赔条款的解读和适用,以期对合同双方的风险控制和专用条件的拟定得到启示。

在EPC建设工程项目承包市场中,雇主往往被认为在承包合同中处于主导地位,市场是"买方市场",雇主在工程项目中的索赔具有不可争议的优势,所以国内相关索赔研究更多偏向承包商视角。但是雇主并不是通常所认为的那样处于优势,相反,EPC工程对承包商设计、建筑资质、工程管理能力的综合要求比较高,雇主可选择范围较小;中标后,项目大部分工作由承包商完成,雇主只有监督的权限;我国大型基础设施项目的雇主往往是政府机构或者事业单位,工作人员并不一定具有建筑和法律专业背景;EPC模式是我国企业与"一带一路"沿线国家合作建设基础设施类项目的重要模式。因此,EPC工程雇主索赔研究对于我国雇主方风险管理和我国企业参与"一带一路"沿线国家建设、依法履约具有一定的实际意义。

雇主向承包商提出的索赔,在工程界一般称为"反索赔",而在法律层面来说,无论合同双方谁具有一般意义上的主导地位,作为民事合同主体双方的权利义务是平等的。因此,不管雇主提出的诉求或要求是为了对抗承包商的索赔,还是基于承包商违约直接提出的索赔,均可统称为"雇主索赔",其较"反索赔"更为符合法理和事实,也与民事主体权利平等的主旨相符。1999年,国际咨询工程师联合会(FIDIC)版布《设计采购施工(EPC)/交钥匙工程合同条件》(Conditionsof Contract for EPC/TurnkeyProjects以下简称"FIDIC《银色合同通用条件》"),该FIDIC《银色合同通用条件》适用于世界范围内的承包商设计的大型交钥匙工程项目的采购。我国的格式合同是建设部的《(试行)建设项目工程总承包合同示范文本GF-2011-0216》。下文主要通过对FIDIC《银色合同通用条件》第2.5款"雇主的索赔"的总规定及相关格式条款分析,与我国格式合同比较,从雇主角度探讨合同索赔条款的解读和适用,以期对合同双方的风险控制和专用条件的拟定得到启示。

一、缺陷索赔和期限索赔

(一)通知

1.索赔通知

在EPC总承包合同条件下,项目如期完工交付、工程质量和成本控制是雇主最为关心的问题。FIDIC《银色合同通用条件》第2.5款首先约定"如果雇主认为,根据本条件的任何条款、或合同有关的另外事项,他有权得到任何付款、和(或)缺陷通知期限的任何延长,他应向承包商发出通知,说明细节。"这说明雇主的索赔应发出通知。此外2.5款约定:"通知应在雇主了解引起索赔的事件或情况后尽快发出",因而,在"索赔前应当发出通知"这一点上,并未有雇主未发出索赔通知,绝对产生失去索赔权利的法律效果。 1在索赔通知问题适用和拟定专用条件时,FIDIC《银色合同通用条件》对雇主来说是较为有利的。

2."缺陷通知期限"延长的通知

值得雇主注意的是,"缺陷通知期限"延长的通知,应在该期限到期前发出。这是为了平衡第10款约定带来的风险,即雇主在28天接收期限内有可能无法完成验收,但缺陷通知期限的延长必须符合11.3款约定的"某项缺陷或损害达到使用工程、单位工程或者某项主要生产设备(视情况而定,并在接收以后)不能按原定目的使用的程度"。

(二)索赔的计算方式

1.履约保函索赔

根据FIDIC《银色合同通用条件》第4.2款,承包商应在双方签署合同协议书后28天内,将履约担保交给雇主。承包商应确保履约担保直到其完成工程的施工、竣工和修补完任何缺陷前持续有效和可执行。如果其在履约担保的条款中规定了期满日期,而在此之前28天内承包商无法拿到履约证书,承包商应延长履约保函的有效期至工程竣工和修补完缺陷。雇主可提出索赔情形有:如果承包商不能延长有效期,雇主可以索赔履约担保的全部金额;如果承包商不支付雇主索赔;或者在接到雇主通知42天内修复缺陷;或者雇主依据通用条件第15.2要求终止合同,不管是否已经发出通知。另根据合同11.5,承包商可经雇主同意,从现场移出有缺陷的工程进行修复,雇主可要求增加履约担保金额或其他担保。

2.无需通知的费用索赔

对于合同约定的承包商到期应付款,包括根据第4.19(电、水和燃气)和第4.20款(雇主的设备和免费供应的材料)规定的或承包商要求的其他服务的应付款,不需要发出通知。第4.19款约定,承包商应有权因工程的需要使用现场可供的电、水、燃气和其他服务,其详细规定和价格见雇主要求......第4.20款主要内容为:当任何承包商人员操作、驾驶、指挥、或占用或控制某项雇主设备时,承包商应对该项设备负责......这些服务的耗用数量和应付金额(按其价格)、使用雇主设备的的适当数量和应付费用金额(按规定价格),应根据第2.5款(雇主的索赔)和第3.5款(确定)的要求商定或确定。承包商应向雇主支付此金额。

3.未按时竣工的依约索赔

根据8.7款误期损害赔偿费约定,这些误期损害赔偿费应按照专用条件中规定的每天应付金额,以接收证书注明的日期超过相应的竣工时间的天数计算。值得注意的是,根据10.1款,雇主颁发接收证书的期限是28天,在此期限内如果未颁发接收证书,又未拒绝承包商的申请,而工程或者单位工程(视情况而定)实质上符合合同约定,接收证书应视已在上述规定的期限的最后一日颁发。为了平衡风险,前文已述,2.5款约定雇主可发出"缺陷通知期限的延长"的通知,第11.3款约定该"缺陷通知期限的延长"期限不能超过两年。这是专用条件中逾期违约条款拟定过程中需要衔接的重要通用条件内容。

(三)雇主将索赔金额在应付款中扣减

2.5款第三项约定"通知的细节",应说明提出索赔所根据的条款或其他依据。还应包括雇主认为根据合同他有权得到的索赔金额和(或)延长期的事实根据。并约定,雇主可将上述金额在给承包商的到期或者将到期的任何应付款中扣减。而在《GF-2011-0216合同示范文本》中,根据14.11款中索赔款项的支付约定,发包人作出扣减是以"经协商或调解确定的、或经仲裁裁定的、或法院判决的发包人应得的索赔款项"为条件。这是值得合同双方在签订和履行合同过程中,面对不同格式版本需要斟酌的问题。

二、雇主索赔的其他费用

(一)缺陷拒收和修补的费用

根据7.5款,在检查、检验、测量或试验后,发现任何生产设备、材料、设计或工艺有缺陷或不符合合同约定,雇主可通知拒收并说明理由。因此产生的拒收和再次试验费用由承包商承担。如果承包商没有按照雇主指示进行7.6款修补工作,雇主雇用他人的,费用由承包商承担。同样在扫尾工作中(11.1-11.2),雇主发现缺陷,修补的风险和费用由承包商承担。

(二)承包商延误试验的风险和费用

9.2款约定,承包商延误试验后,应在接到雇主通知后21天内进行竣工试验,如未果,雇主自行试验的风险和费用由承包商承担。

(三)未能通过重新竣工试验

即整体或单位工程在拒收情形下重新试验后,仍然未通过的,雇主有权选择:接收工程,合同价格应予以减少,减少金额应足以弥补损失;由他人或自己进行此项工作,由承包商承担费用;或者按照合同3.5款约定的价格合理减少;在不能实现合同目的时,即达到丧失了工程或工程主要部分的整个利益时候,选择终止合同。

三、其余索赔条款

FIDIC《银色合同通用条件》中值得关注的其他主要索赔条款有:1.13遵守法律;4.14避免干扰;4.16货物运输;7.3检验;8.6工程进度;14.2预付款;17.5知识产权和工业产权;18.1有关保险的一般要求;18.2工程和承包商设备的保险。

四、雇主解除合同

雇主解除合同,一是符合我国合同法中遵循"意思自治"原则的"约定解除"。

通用条件15.2约定雇主终止合同的情形有:未能遵守4.2条"履约担保",或根据15.1"通知改正"的规定发出通知要求;放弃或以自己行为表现出根本违约;非法分包或转包;未按照第8条"开工、延误和暂停"进行工程;破产或无力偿债、停业清理;贿赂。雇主解除合同后,承包商应自行承担将设备和临时工程运走的风险和费用。如果承包商对雇主如有应付款,雇主可出售这些物品,抵消欠款。其次是通用条件19.7款所表述的依据管理合同的法律的"法定解除",这也需要合同双方协商确定解释管辖法律的选择,并拟定相应条款。

结语

通过以上对FIDIC《银色合同通用条件》的解读和适用借鉴,笔者期望潜在的合同双方会对合同的签订和履行有一个基本清晰的预见,并可在专用条件中对双方或一方关心的问题进行约定,再依据合同不同部分的解释顺序的约定,从而对通用条件的相关约定根据实际情况进行灵活处理,并予最大程度控制风险、依法依约进行履约。EPC项目大都为大型基础设施,涉及领域有传统电力、清洁能源、铁路、公路、水利、建筑等,其工程质量中的性能指标往往是雇主或项目所在国当局重点关心的问题。鉴于此,合同双方可在专用条件中约定相关惩罚性违约金,如承包商未能达到性能指标,应接受违约惩罚。

文中备注

1《EPC总承包建设工程合同之承包商索赔条款研究——FIDIC条款对中国EPC项目之启示》 毛婧 北京德恒(深圳)律师事务所

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