Infrastructure (civil, road and hydraulic engineering)

Infrastructure (civil, road and hydraulic engineering)

An important part of our consultancy and procedural support relates to infrastructural work.

Our clients specialise in road construction, rail infrastructure, civil engineering, soil remediation, engineering structures, sand excavation, earth movement, sewer construction, etc.

We deal with disputes in any sector of the construction industry, such as disputes on the interpretation of specifications, amendments to specifications, other contract variations and other forms of additional payment, construction time extensions, interruption loss, discounts, design and execution errors, hidden defects and guarantees.

In addition, we also deal with many typical civil, road and hydraulic engineering issues such as

  • problems relating to exceeding offsettable, estimated and approved quantities,
  • the revision of set-off prices,
  • the use of equivalent building materials,
  • soil condition differences (par. 29, subclause 3 of the Uniform Administrative Conditions (UAV) and par. 13, subclause 2 of the Uniform Administrative Conditions for Integrated Contracts (UAV-GC) 2005,
  • issues relating to the Rationalisation and Automation for Civil Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering and Road Engineering (RAW) system (Standard RAW provisions of 2015 and older versions), such as problems relating to Open Item Contracts (Overeenkomsten Met Open Posten, OMOP) specifications.

By partnering with large principals such as the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) for the design and construction contracts, our work now relates largely to disputes regarding the Uniform Administrative Conditions for Integrated Contracts (UAV-GC) 2005 and other integrated contract forms such as Design & Construct and DBFMO (Design, Build, Finance, Maintain & Operate).

We are often brought in when the parties are still on speaking terms, meaning that we still have a chance to prevent legal proceedings being initiated. Legal proceedings take place at the Board of Arbitration for the Construction Industry (Raad van Arbitrage voor de Bouw), the Netherlands Arbitration Institute (Nederlands Arbitrage Instituut, NAI) or the ordinary courts.

Road construction

The Standard RAW provisions of 2015 provide detailed rules relating to testing materials and carrying out work. Nevertheless, disputes still arise regarding quality of the work (such as course waste, rutting, etc) or with regard to cost increases. In recent years, large principals like the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) have issued contracts on the basis of conditions in which the contract is given more scope for design, such as performance contracts and D & C of E & C contracts. Imposing such conditions means a substantial increase in the risks for road construction companies and this can lead to a different kind of legal problem.

Civil engineering

The large-scale construction of tunnels and motorways and provincial roads including engineering structures has resulted in legal issues related to the construction process in which contract managers play an important role. Integrated contracts, often based on systems engineering, demand an entirely different approach for which both construction companies and principals are still insufficiently prepared. In addition, constructioncompanies and clients often have different expectations with regard to the mutual obligations under these contracts (often: Uniform Administrative Conditions for Integrated Contracts (UAV-GC)).

Railway infrastructure

The (primarily national) railway infrastructure is subject to specific regulations (such as working on the basis of performance-based maintenance under applicability of the General Terms and Conditions/Personal Accident Insurance) and ProRail regulations, including the amended Uniform Administrative Conditions for Integrated Contracts (UAV-GC) (the Yellow Booklet). The tendering procedures for these projects also differ from the procedures for other infrastructural work.

Earth movement

Work in the field of earth movement is often part of the specifications for road construction or hydraulic engineering. Disputes relating to earth movement usually concerned the determination of quantity or the fee for different quantities. Our office has unparalleled experience with revising set-off prices, and approved or estimated quantities.

Cables and pipes

Work on cables and pipes is different from other infrastructural work, first and foremost because the principals usually come from the utilities sector. Both the contractual conditions and the mutual relationships in this sector tend to differ from the norm. Those differences are relevant for consultancy in relation to tenders and negotiations, as well as for the legal position in a dispute about the execution of such work. Disputes concern, for example, damage caused during laying, liability for subsidence, breakages and leaks and higher execution costs as a consequence of incorrect data on the location of the pipes or the soil condition.