The construction industry is full of jargon and it can be difficult to understand all the acronyms and terms used. It’s even more difficult when it comes to construction contracts.
In this post, we’ll dive back into JCT contracts, where we will explain the differences between relevant matters and relevant events. As you can imagine, these are sometimes confused but it is very important to differentiate between them both.
Let’s start with relevant matters which are outlined in clause 4.21 of the JCT contract. A relevant matter is a matter for which the client is responsible for affecting the progress of the works. This may enable the contractor to claim direct loss and/or expense that has been incurred. Relevant matters might include:
- Failure to give the contractor possession of the site.
- Failure to give the contractor access to and from the site.
- Delays in receiving instructions.
- Opening up works or testing works that then prove to have been carried out in accordance with the contract.
- Discrepancies in the contract documents.
- Disruption caused by works being carried out by the client.
- Failure by the client to supply goods or materials.
- Instructions relating to variations and expenditure of provisional sums.
- Inaccurate forecasting of works described by approximate quantities.
- Issues relating to CDM.
Relevant events on the other hand are events that cause a delay to the completion date, which is caused by the client, or a neutral event not caused by either party. The contract should set out what constitutes a relevant event in clause 2.26. Relevant events entitle the contractor to claim an extension of time. An extension of time is a request for the completion date to be moved.
Applying for an Extension of Time is crucial as it allows you to:
- Recover any additional losses and expenses you’ve incurred; and,
- Helps shield you from any damages which the client may wish to levy as a result of the delay
We will explore the concept of an extension of time in a future blog post.
Relevant events might include:
- Exceptionally adverse weather.
- Civil commotion or terrorism.
- Failure to provide information.
- Delay on the part of a nominated sub-contractor.
- Statutory undertaker’s work.
- Delay in giving the contractor possession of the site.
- Force majeure (such as a war or an epidemic).
- Loss from a specified peril such as a flood
- The supply of materials and goods by the client.
- National strikes.
- Changes in statutory requirements.
- Delays in receiving permissions that the contractor has taken reasonable steps to avoid.
As stated earlier, it’s important not to confuse a relevant event with a relevant matter. To summarise, a relevant matter entitles the contractor to claim direct loss or expense and a relevant event entitles the contractor to an extension of time.
There may be times on your project where a relevant event and a relevant matter coincide. For example, the client may have not supplied material on the contractually specified date. This has resulted in a delay of the programme which has, in turn, caused an expense to you as the contractor. Here you can claim for an extension of time and claim for loss and expense.
In comparison, NEC contracts deal with these issues under the single heading ‘compensation events’. You can find our video on compensation events in the description below.
Why not watch our video on Relevant Events vs Relevant Matters?