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200 Contractual Problems and their Solutions

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by Tony Bingham

In the first edition of this book, published in 2000, Roger Knowles discussed 100 contractual problems; then 150 and now 200. Wouldn’t you have thought that by now the numbers would be going the other way? In 1993 Sir Michael Latham conducted an inquiry into common contractual problems in construction – ‘to formulate possible remedies’. He reflected on his predecessor in 1963, Sir Harold Banwell, treading the same path; and little by way of remedies had arisen. Meanwhile, Roger Knowles did something effective. He recognized that contractual problems in building and civil engineering ran with the territory. Like it or not, they are normal. Construction contracts and contractual problems are everyday stuff; they are there to be managed. Just like, men, materials, plant, the weather and all sorts are to be managed, so too is the contractual side of things. ‘Contractual Problems’ is the ‘the other 50% of building’.

To know the answers, it is ever so useful to pinpoint the questions first. The book is so welcome. Indeed, as I read the manuscript I found I didn’t want to stop. That’s because a quick glimpse at the next conundrum and the next was immediately relevant to the everyday ‘construction disputes’ world. Then, I developed an appetite for Roger Knowles’ answers. Look, he has been in the midst of these contractual problems for 40 years and more; all of it in building and civil engineering. He is highly qualified, highly experienced and his easy style highly engaging. Take a glimpse at two things: the general list of 22 headings, then the 200 problems. They are the way of things and this book of answers is a practical work to contractual management – and, probably, dispute avoidance.

Tony Bingham Barrister at Law
3 Paper Buildings Temple, London EC4Y 7EU

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