Musings of a busy mind

On 15 August, Russell McVeagh published its report on disputes in the construction industry. The results are sobering, with over 70% of survey respondents predicting an increase in the number of disputes in the next two years.

Coincidentally, predictions at the Master Builders' Conference on 17 August were equally dire, with numerous and varied solutions proposed to what appears to be an intractable problem - high construction costs; low contractor margins; head contractor failures; unpaid subcontractors; and poor project completion. The Government then followed announcing a new infrastructure agency.

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The central problem is one of managing uncertainty, and for most projects the best solution is for clients to engage with contractors to understand and to reduce, as far as possible, those uncertainties. This will not necessarily result in a cheaper price, but it will result in a more certain price and more certain delivery.

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On Tuesday, 14 November 2017, I was asked to present a paper at a Legalwise seminar on Public Decision Making and Reason Writing. The focus of my paper was on the relevance of the Government Rules of Sourcing, the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), which New Zealand acceded to on 13 July 2015, and recent case law on importing public law issues into challenges of Government procurement projects.

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