phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Contracts again

Posted by Lewis the Legal Eagle on March 13, 2003

In Reply to: Contracts again posted by TheFallen on March 13, 2003

: ::the Contractor may give a notice to the Project Manager requesting the issue of an Operational Acceptance Certificate in the form provided in the Bidding Documents or in another form acceptable to the Employer in respect of the Facilities or the part thereof specified in such notice as of the date of such notice.

: : requesting the issue, the contractor request the issue, or the Project Manager who request the issue?

: ::I am pretty sure it's the Contractor. This is sentence is appalling. I am only about 80% sure *I* know what it means.

: : but this is a contract, how can they write it so ambiguously? Can you give me more ideas?

: It's not actually ambiguous, but it's written in a very stylised, complex, unclear and fussy form of English that seems to be the norm for the majority of contracts. I have no clue why contracts are so often drawn up with such a lack of regard for plain and "easily understood" English, though I suspect that a contract lawyer would argue that such complexity is needed precisely to avoid any ambiguity. Personally, I'd disagree, but there are one or two lawyers who post on this board that may give you an opinion.

It means that the contractor can ask the Project Manager to issue a certificate called an "operational acceptance certificate" - as the form of this certificate has been set out in the bidding documents, then this certificate is part of the ongoing progress on the project - I would guess that it is similar to the certificate that an architect supervising building works can give which allows a builder to collect mile-stone payments. here it sounds as if there are stages that are reached when certain aspects are "operational" and I would guess that the contractor would want the certificates to get paid for that phase of the job. The Employer is likely to be the person with the benefit of the contract - perhaps the end-user. The Employer is using a Project Manager to handle a job and the Contractor is the one that carries out the job - probably under a contract with the Project Manager as agent for the Employer. The certificate is unarguable proof to third parties that the phase has been properly carried out - usually builders on contruction contracts get paid on the certificates, less a "retention" held against hidden defects (usually 5-10%)

I trust that helps and was in understandable English, even though I am a lawyer.