Categories: Practice Updates

M.Sc Dissertation

M.Sc Dissertation: Time Management in Construction Law

Alan Received a distinction from King’s for his dissertation on the subject of – “An inquiry as to the efficacy of, and possible improvements to, the Contractual provisions for Time in complex projects and Programmes”

The dissertation addresses the consequences of unpredictability that were set out in in the seminal reports by Egan and Latham which led to the enactment of what has come to be known as the Construction Act of 1996 .

It puts forward the hypothesis that at the heart of any dispute concerning delay in construction lies the question of the contractual status and reliable predictability of the project’s Programme. It contends that the standard forms of construction contract used in England and Wales are in need of clarification.  Further, that a significant proportion of the time and cost burdens involved in litigation on construction cases could be saved by having clearer and more coherent clauses in the standard forms of construction contract which deal the requirements of the parties as to time management. It will also be proposed that this improvement may enhance the Alternative Dispute Resolution methods that in turn may reduce the likelihood of the parties requiring the services of the courts to resolve disputes, in the first place.

Alan argues that the consequences of unpredictability on delay are of equal potency to their operational counterparts and can be further subdivided into the cause of the delay and the effect of the delay on the end date (or other key dates) otherwise known as the critical path impact of the delay.

Finally he surmises that “…programmes are important operationally, as well as in the language of causation in establishing obligations and entitlements, such that terms which refer to them should be clear and either one thing or another. The absence of a codified framework, or a single and formally recognised contractual position, as to the status of programmes and thereby the method for assessing delay seems to create more problems than it solves. Similarly, it seems to this author that the residual ground of implied terms regarding programmes and delays, which rely on good faith, are at best incongruous with the broader provisions of the common law system; at worst the protagonist of a flawed contractual machinery, albeit rich in litigation.“*


*Extract from M.Sc Dissertation: Copyright Alan Midgley and King’s College London