The commonly used NZS3910 Conditions of Contract for Building and Civil Engineering Construction was subject of a review and revamp at the end of 2013.

The new NZS3910:2013 contains a number of new features and changes, which we will be highlighting in the next few articles.

One of the most important new features to be aware of as a contractor is the new provisions for advance notification of matters likely to affect cost or time (new clause 5.21). In short, if you as a contractor become aware of any matter which is likely to materially affect the contract price, materially delay completion of the contract works, or result in a breach of a statutory duty in connection with the contract works then you must notify the engineer in writing as soon as possible. Either you or the engineer may then require the other to meet to explore proposals for avoiding or reducing the impact of the notified matter.

The clause is designed to promote a no surprises culture however you should be aware that a failure to notify may affect the valuation of any variation arising out of the matter in question e.g. if a change entitles the contractor to a variation, but the costs of the variation would have been reduced if the notification had been provided earlier, then the valuation of the variation may be reduced.

If you are contracting using the new NZS3910:2013 then we would urge you to keep this advanced notification requirement in the back of your mind and if in doubt, disclose any issues to the engineer as soon as you become aware of them.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.