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Peter Hawkins

Author: Peter Hawkins

Director and Strategic Programmes Consultant

The Challenge

A new Water Treatment Plant had been partly constructed and had then sunk into insufficient foundations.

The Key Solutions

Innovation was asked by the client to audit the contract and contractual situation to determine the causes and responsibilities, and subsequently to assist the client in negotiation to firstly deal with the contractual issues and then propose the optimum delivery strategies and plans for completion.

This task was complex, as the Project had started as a contract between the supplier and an internal department, which was subsequently set-up via a Management Buy Out (MBO). The internal department had also sub-contracted a large part of the work to another internal department, which was also subsequently set-up via another MBO.

There were a number of cross-guarantees and undertakings in respect of both MBO’s. The original supplier contract had not been transferred properly, and therefore resided as a commitment to the original client.

In addition to these organisational & responsibility issues, the contract itself was both incomplete and inappropriate, as was the supplier, which was selected for engineering excellence, but which had no experience of installation, or integration, and had no UK representation.

Some of the other issues, which we had to resolve, along the way were:

  • The Supplier Project Manager (PM) was not a PM. He was an engineer.
  • There was no Client PM appointed by the business.
  • The Station Manager responsible for the operation of the new unit was refusing delivery/sign-off, as he had not been involved at any stage.
  • There was no Business Integration Manager, therefore, the operating cabin was found to be too small and incorrectly located, additionally there were no integration/testing plans, and there was no arrangement for the support of the station Chemist.

The Outcomes

Via a series of 1-to-1 meetings with 7 separate organisations and subsequent joint, facilitated meetings, we were able to resolve the contractual responsibilities and agree a new, clear way forwards, which enabled the completion of the project with no legal costs.