At the beginning of a contract, when relationships are being formed and the excitement of a brand new project is enthusiastically being embraced by everyone involved, human nature will usually preclude any action that might otherwise disturb the bonhomie. This might be understandable, but it is certainly not helpful.
Roll forward 18 months the spirit of bonhomie may have become a distant memory and the reality of performance and project delivery will be the driving motivations.
This is why it is important that appropriate notices are sent at the time that changes are introduced, when things happen or when it becomes apparent that progress is being affected by something. This should not be seen as being either negative or somehow aggressive, rather it is being helpful by enabling the people involved with, or affected by the project, to make informed decisions at the time or to plan for the eventualities which are being notified.
In many contracts there are conditions precedent which must be adhered to if a contractual right is to be secured. Put more simply, if failing to issue a notice at the time when a change of some kind occurs, which may affect the progress or completion of the project, means that the entitlement to that time will be lost, then issue the notice. This is both prudent and helpful – don’t be locked out of an entitlement by a reluctance to tell it how it is.
There is a tendency in the industry to rely on retrospective assessments of delays which are not supported by the reports and records issued at the time. If the people responsible for administering the contract are not made aware of things affecting the progress at the time, then they can be forgiven for not making suitable extension of time awards.
A properly prepared programme, which is capable of being performed to, is an essential progress monitoring tool. This, together with considered contemporaneous reports and records and timely notices will not only mean that entitlements can be secured but will also assist in the administration of the project and its subsequent occupation.
Surprises and disappointments are the things that will kill off the bonhomie, not warnings and early advice!