Kilpatrick Townsend’s Pat Gaas and Brian Gaudet recently participated as panelists along with other key industry leaders at the 4th Annual EPC Contract Management Conference in Houston.
Key takeaways from the discussion, include:
- Long-term collaborative relationships can benefit both contractors and owners.
- Long-term collaborative relationships need to be handled differently than one-off agreements.
- The relationship should be initiated with a meeting and agreement on what the goals and governing principles are for the relationship.
- Field personnel need to be informed about, trained on, and adhere to the governing principles of the relationship.
- As too much lag or overlap between projects can cause resource issues, frequent open communication about anticipated workloads and delays is important.
- An effective system of governance needs to be in place and re-evaluated often to ensure it is operating effectively.
- Long term agreements should not be an excuse to avoid developing and documenting clear scopes and expectations between the parties.
- Any disputes need to be dealt with timely and respectfully with the understanding that maintaining the relationship is as important an influence on the outcome of the dispute as minimizing/maximizing the payment/recovery.
- Engaging qualified third party assistance for evaluating and aiding in the resolution of disputes is important (qualified attorneys, experts, mediators, dispute review boards).
- Each party must commit to resolve disputes with fairness and honesty and avoid “form over substance” type arguments.