Physical access to the job site is necessary for contractors to perform their work, yet access is seldom absolute or unfettered. Construction contracts frequently establish site access parameters. But occurrences in the field, including owner directives, can also affect access. Two cases in this issue involve site access issues.
In one case, the contract said “access to the site will be available during normal working hours.” The contractor contended this was a promise of complete, unrestricted access, allowing the contractor to phase the work as it chose. But it was really just a general statement of working hours.
The second case addressed owner directives restricting the portion of the project the contractor could work on at any one time. The contractor said this forced it to work out of sequence, thus extending the contract performance period. The contractor, however, could not make its case because it never established the critical path of the schedule.
The third case in this issue involved a bonus fee provision in an architectural services agreement. The provision was ambiguous as to whether issuance of building permits was a precondition to earning the fee.