This week we are covering Level 2 for Contract Practice. Here is the link to the Level 1 post if you missed it: Contract Practice - Level 1.
DISCLAIMER: The following is not an exhaustive set of notes, but it's an attempt to help those who, like me at the beginning, did not know where to start! Please feel free to let me know if I have said anything incorrect or out of date!
So what is a Level 2 Contract Practice?
The RICS pathway guide suggests that to effectively demonstrate your competence at this level you must show that you can (at a minimum):
Apply your knowledge of the use of the various standard forms of contract at project level, including the implications and obligations that apply to the parties to the contract.
Producing contract documentation
You are not expected to know the specifics for every contract available. Remember, the assessors will ask you about the contracts that you have referred to in your summary of experience. So if you have only worked on JCT contracts in your career, clearly it’s not a good idea to start mentioning NEC in your summary of experience.
For your chosen contract, make sure you know the end-to-end process from drafting to contract execution (i.e. signing).
You should be able to explain why a specific contract was chosen and how you ensured certain contractual mechanisms were incorporated within the contract document. For example, you should know that in JCT contracts the number of mechanisms available differs depending on the contract you use. The JCT Minor Works for example does not allow for Testing and Opening whereas the other contracts do. Bear this in mind!
Carrying out the contractual mechanisms and procedures relevant to the financial management aspects of your project, such as change procedures, valuations, loss and expense and final accounts
You need to demonstrate the ability to manage and execute contractual mechanisms.
Most QS’s will have experience in undertaking valuations. At the very minimum, you need to know the valuation process for your contract (along with the timescales).
You then need to cover the basics, how does your contract deal with change? How does your contract manage loss and expense, how does it signify practical completion and indeed recognise the final account!
Understanding general contractual provisions such as letters of intent, insurances, retention, bonds, liquidated damages, early possession, practical completion and other common contractual mechanisms.
The elements listed in the above bullet point are some of the common contractual provisions which are found in standard construction contracts. The keyword here is “UNDERSTANDING”, it doesn’t expect you to write out a letter of intent or prepare an insurance schedule. It’s important you know why we (as QS’s) don't undertake these activities - that is because we are not covered for this under our Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII). We are not legal or insurance experts, let’s leave those tasks to those who have the insurance to cover them.
You may in your career be asked to implement a liquidated ascertained damages (LADS) clause in your contract. This is where you provide a genuine pre-estimate of losses if the contractor fails to complete the works. The key for this is that it has to be genuine and not a penalty. There is a lot of case law on this so a quick google search will tell you everything you want to know!
If you are unsure about what contractual provisions you should have experience of, you should speak to your supervisor in the first instance, however, you can always drop me a line too!
That’s it for this post folks, as always give me a shout if you have any questions or comments!