The methods employed by construction professionals in analysing delay claims under the JBCC's principal building agreement
Le Roux, Jacobus Cornelius
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Resolving extension of time claims amicably and expeditiously seems an elusive concept for parties involved on construction projects. In the absence of generally accepted standards of practice and techniques for evaluating the extension of time claims in the construction industry, the methods of evaluation currently used by principal agents lead to disputes that tend to result in litigation and arbitration. The aim of this research study was to determine the manner in which practitioners from a portion of the construction industry in South Africa perform the analysis of extension of time claims within the JBCC standard form of contract. As there are currently no standards of practice regarding delay analysis or schedules in South Africa, some international standards were expanded upon in order to establish local norms in comparison to international standards. Within the contexts of the aims of the research, the researcher selected a mixed-method approach by utilising both qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the current methods and delay analysis techniques employed by professionals in the construction industry in South Africa. The researcher used a purposive sampling method with the aim of targeting construction professionals who could specifically contribute towards the objectives of the study. Data collection was performed by analysing the literature and utilising semi-structured interviews. The semi-structured interviews were selected because of the perceived amplification of objectivity when obtaining responses. A pilot study was also conducted with an esteemed academic and experienced JBCC professional, which assisted in significantly refining the questions that constituted the semi-structured interview. The findings of the research were that in this absence of a standard form of analysis, professionals in a portion of the South African construction industry have no knowledge of any formal analysis techniques when evaluating claims. Moreover, the research demonstrated that the absence of this standard, results in a portion of the industry applying different methods to the same extension of time claim, thereby creating inconsistent results for both contractors and employers to follow. Although the iii research indicated a lack of knowledge of any of the formal delay analysis techniques, it was discovered that principal agents unknowingly use either the As Planned Impacted or the As Planned But For technique when they evaluate claims. The latter of which were the preferred technique. The significance of the data within the context of the problem statement is that the two techniques, namely As Planned Impacted and the As Planned But For technique differ quite substantially in terms of the risk, additional cost and penalties they infer upon both parties to the building contract and the research confirms that there is a definite need for an objective standard in terms of delay claim adjudications.
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