Scope of Work – Baseline

This McLaughlin and McLaughlin (M&M) post is the sixth in a Subject Series  Construction Claims and Disputes.  This Subject Series contains discussions regarding potential and actual construction claims and disputes situations.

In the realm of construction claims and disputes, claims regarding scope of work are the largest or highest single category.  The George Washington University publication Construction Contracting states that “Not surprisingly, specifications and plans are the focal point of most construction contract performance disputes and requests for price adjustments.”  While this source pertains to US Federal government contracting, the same pattern can be seen in the private sector on a worldwide basis.  Even more general, scope of work disputes extend beyond construction contracting, into engineering and procurement in the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) industry.

This series of posts will address scope of work within the overall subject of Construction Claims and Disputes.  Since disputes and claims regarding scope of work are such a pervasive problem, some degree of detail will be presented.  Further, the majority of the discussion will address entitlement to recovery (rather than pricing or quantum).

The source of all disputes and claims is departures from the baseline.  These variances (cost, time or other) create the dispute.  Therefore, understanding the baseline is essential.

In construction claims and disputes, the baseline is (almost always) the contract.  The contract is the “deal” or the agreement between the parties.  While it must meet several legal tests, the contract is the baseline that will be the focus of this discussion.  You must have, know and understand the contract, or at least all portions and provisions that relate to scope of work.

Success in this area of claims and disputes depends almost exclusively on how well you know the contract.  More specifically, how well you know and understand the scope of work.

Later in this post, the formulation of a Claims Management Plan (CMP) is discussed and related to contract scope of work. [Read more…]