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Understanding Dredging


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Dredging contract specification for dispute avoidance

€ 20,-


Presented during:

CEDA Dredging Days 2015 - Innovative Dredging Solutions for Ports, Rotterdam


Sheehan C and Maloney M - Anthony D Bates Partnership, United Kingdom

Abstract: Dredging is a unique niche industry within civil engineering and therefore has distinct associated issues. The meticulous drafting of a dredging contract document is crucial in ensuring that the works are completed as required by the employer but also to ensure that all parties are fully informed of the conditions under which the works are to be undertaken. Whilst general conditions of contract are sufficient to provide the basis of a contract, detailed and experienced dredging knowledge is required to ensure the specification of the works is adequate to allow contractors to develop appropriate work method statements for the specific site and tender on a fully informed basis. The Contract must be devoid of ambiguity. This paper discusses the main areas of a specification for dredging work where there is potential for disputes or claims. These include:

  • Dredged material description;
  • Method of measurement;
  • Tolerance and slope specification;
  • Overflow and sedimentation specification;
  • Ploughing/Levelling specification;
  • Data provision specification;
  • Demurrage specification;
  • Volume variation specification.

Whilst a majority of disputes are due to geotechnical discrepancies all of the above topics also are potential causes of disagreement and dispute. By ensuring that each of these topics is adequately defined in the contract the majority of disputes can be eliminated or at least minimised. Timely awareness of these issues is fundamental to the drafting of the dredging contract as they may influence the baseline activities that required in advance of the publication of a contract. The specific issues associated with each of the above topics and their potential impacts are discussed.

Key words: Contract, Dispute, Specification, Ambiguity



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