By Liyanage Devika

Mega high way projects are novel experience to the Sri Lankan Construction Industry. The bulk work involved with the construction of these projects creates more complicated issues. Most of these issues are difficult to explore during the planning stage. This situation makes opportunity for claims.

The aim of this paper is to create awareness on reasons for the claims and get ready with measures to manage these claims in mega highway projects.


1.1 Contract Documents related issues

The Contract Documents of this type of projects are too big extending into several volumes. The specification provides the information on materials, workmanship as well as measurement and payment procedures for items included in the BOQ. The work items are not governed by a Standard Method of Measurement. It is a pre-requisite to illustrate the work items clearly and comprehensively to cover all additions, omissions etc. required for an item. At instances where this requirement is not met the Contract is open for claims.

Further, a proper co-ordination of Contract documents is
required to be ensured in illustrating similar items. As the work involved is much complicated, inconsistencies found in documents lead to confusions and claimable situations.

• re-using of materials

If the same material is removed and re-used at several times for different purposes or same purpose at site, all are to be described and detailed as necessary for measurements and payments in the relevant sections of documents ensuring a proper co-ordination.

• Payment of fees to certain authorities

Even though, the Conditions of Contract is extended to cover liability of the Contractor to settle above payments, it is required to detail such payment procedures. Eg- Royalties and similar payments to be paid by the Contractor as site is to be recovered from material is used for Works of these projects.

• Usage of site recovered materials (employer owned) for work …etc

If the Contractor is allowed to use materials obtained from site (like rock blasted) for the construction works the limitations are required to be clearly specified in the
construction documents.

Under-estimation of quantities often found in Bills of Quantities, are also reasons for claims.

• Quantity increase in earth work and rock excavations

Site Conditions are very difficult to predict during the pre-tender stage as ground investigations are limited as against to scope of the project.

The requirement of soil for embankment filling and surcharge filling got increased and it is due to difficulty to find out huge earth quantities to satisfy the requirement. This is a commonly raised claim by the contractors.

1.2 Variations

Variations are commonly experienced in these projects.

• The changes made by the Employer often occur and create opportunities for making claims

The increase of the width of road after awarding the Contract will lead to increase not only construction of additional road area but also the widening of associated structures like bridges and etc. Further, all these large structures are defined as the Contractor designed structures in these Contracts. All amount to claimable situations.

• The requirements of the project which are not introduced due to difficulty of identification during the bidding stage is required to be introduced later execution stage of the project. Eg. Access roads, lead away drains, and similar nature works. Unlike in other projects, the quantity of these types of work is considerable.

• The change of major construction methods like soft ground treatment to expedite construction works and to reduce other problems associated with that method during the construction stage are also inevitable.

1.3 Impacts created through Environmental issues

These projects are governed by a Central Environmental Authority (CEA) approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) plan. Most of the issues are covered by this plan and Contractor is held responsible for executing the project activities in complying with this EIA plan but there are claimable incidents.

There are permissible sound limits set in this EIA plan for construction activities. However, eg. In rock blasting / pile driving even sound levels are at the permissible limits the public protests are unavoidable and obstruct the Contractor’s work.


About the Author:

Ch.QS Liyanage Devika (Membership No. 0106)
B.Sc (QS) Hons, PG Dip. (CPM)