FIDIC hosts its second Contract Management Forum at the GIC in Singapore

FIDIC hosts its second Contract Management Forum at the GIC in Singapore

It is common knowledge that the FIDIC’s Global Infrastructure Conference (GIC) is the federation’s flagship annual event. This year, the conference was held in cosmopolitan city of Singapore in Southeast Asia and enjoyed the participation of over 700 delegates from around the world.

The forum, which was organised during the four-day conference was well attended. Similar to last year’s event, practitioners were invited to share their experiences and to discuss some of the pressing issues they face on a regular basis.  

The forum was moderated by the FCL General Manager, Thanos Totsikas, FIDIC Certified Contract Manager Programme committee member, Andrea Chao and FIDIC Board member, Alfredo Ingletti, the main focus covered the management of risks, effective communication and contract documentation. Speakers also included the CHINCA Vice President, Xiuming Xin, Ante Petricevic of Aon and Matt Gijselman of Bentley Systems, Cosmin Tobolcea, Ramil Ismail, Barasa Ongeti and Nguyen Nam Trung.

It goes without saying that contract management is a critical aspect of the project, its workflow and its successful completion. It is considered as a way to ensure that from the start of the project to the hiccups at its centre, and moving on to the handover or its completion, there should be someone who is able to understand and manage the various aspects which constitute the project. This should be a comfort to the parties given the amount of time, investment and planning that has gone into the construction project.

At this year’s Forum, experts and practitioners discussed the role of the contractor and the meaning of contract management in the engineering and construction sectors. Fitness for purpose, the role of the contractor and engineer in assuring the completion of the project, as well as the necessity for open communications between the parties cannot be underestimated. In addition, the role of coverage as regards avoiding negligence to avoid bond on the coverage was discussed.

Trust was also a key issue. By building and maintaining trust, the parties increase the likelihood that their project can be successful. Communication and reciprocity in the relationship between the contractual parties are therefore very critical. Similarly, the contractor and engineer relationship serves as the building block which supports the viability and sustainability of the project. It was of some concern that the guidance on how to act on the site could become a notice. Additionally, some felt that the fact that the minutes of meetings could serve as notice under the 1999 forms of contracts was an issue, while another contracts specialist gave the counter argument that this may now be covered by the FIDIC Contracts Guide.

To counter these issues, a suggestion was made that there should be a guidance note from FIDIC which could provide a unified approach for practitioners.

It was also generally agreed that FIDIC Certified Contract Manager committee could help foster collaborations and to discuss updates or changes in the industry.

Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Be flexible and open minded about situations as they arise.
  2. Working with people means that inevitably, different reactions could lead to different outcomes which are not what was expected or predicted.
  3. Disputes often arise from a surprise which can escalate into an issue. Such disputes should be tackled in constructive, solution-focused manner.
  4. Get clients, including the developers on board early and consider ways to educate them about the various facets of the contract management which could affect their project.
  5. People skills are very beneficial when you are administering a contract, especially if you are working in a collaborative manner.
  6. Skills vs. experience? More skills are required as they are generally more useful over the long term.

Finally, if you want to avoid doubt or potential misunderstandings, you should, from the start, document everything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *