'Construction contracts are like restaurant menus'

Numerous options are available in terms of construction contracts, in a manner akin to facing a restaurant menu, regional legal expert tells Construction Week

Sachin Kerur, head of Middle East, Pinsent Masons.
Sachin Kerur, head of Middle East, Pinsent Masons.

Picking the right construction contract is key to project success and avoiding delays, a legal expert told Construction Week

Sachin Kerur, head of Middle East for legal firm Pinsent Masons, said: “I think choosing a construction contract today is rather like being faced with a restaurant menu. You have choices and just like you would in a restaurant, you choose that which best suits you at that time. 

“There are a host of construction contracts out there, on the menu so to speak, but the trick is to ensure the right contract is used for the right project," Kerur continued.

"Where I think we do see errors is in the selection of forms of contract. Be that FIDIC or any other form – time and again the wrong form is selected." 

Kerur claimed all forms of contracts are “very clear”, and comprise guides as to when they should – or shouldn’t – be used.

“You’ll find a problem if you try to violate those guides; they’re there for a reason, they’re telling you when to use them,” he said, 

“If you try to vandalise a standard form of contract too much, then you’ll end up with a contract which simply wasn’t designed to work in circumstances you [initially wanted it to].

“They are initially thought through and drafted by committees, and should be subject to fairly limited tinkering, but what happens is, as I said, they are heavily amended, heavily vandalised, and they don’t bear any resemblance to the equilibrium that was provided for at the outset of the contract,” Kerur explained. 

Read Sachin Kerur's thoughts on infrastructure development, joint ventures, and contractor accountability here.

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Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020