Commercial Project Relationships

1 min read
Commercial Project Relationships

In any discussion regarding Workplace Health & Safety, the Swiss Cheese Model of accident causation is often used to demonstrate the risk management principle of layered security against loss or adverse incidents. According to this model, when the holes in the various layers of defence line up, an incident will eventually occur.

Similarly, in commercial agreements associated with construction projects, the biggest failures don’t come from a single event, but rather from multiple failures in systems, processes, and relationships. Commercial Construction Project Management is a rigorous discipline and it needs to be. We’ve recently had the opportunity to assist several clients at both the front and back ends of their projects to either set up projects for success from the outset or to put projects back together when they run off track. At PBL, we believe that the parties to a commercial agreement ultimately want the same outcome, a successfully completed quality project delivered to a fit-for-purpose standard at a commercially savvy price. They often just don’t realise that they have the same goal!

At the front end of projects, this is all about managing and ensuring that all parties have the same understanding and expectation of what they are going to provide to each other – lawyers call it the consideration or the mutual promises between the parties. These promises are intangible but are defined with the help of contracts, documents, drawings, and specifications which set out the responsibilities of the parties before the execution phase of the contract. At PBL, when reviewing documentation, we place ourselves in the position of the client as either subcontractor, head contractor, or principal. We examine not only the legal issues, but also the commercial operational issues, to assist the client in delivering their part of the bargain. In a recent advice for a contracting client, we were presented with a service contract and associated documentation of over a hundred pages to review. The principal author of the contract had been quite reasonable in their approach and the legal issues for discussion with the client came to less than a few paragraphs, but the operational changes included in the advice covered almost three pages.

Commercial disputes after the execution of contracts are more difficult to repair and require bringing the parties back to the basics of what they could reasonably have expected of each other at the time the contract was made. We usually find that the Swiss cheese model applies and that commercial difficulties are multifaceted rather than the fault of any one party or event. They can usually be traced to failures by both parties to comply with their individual obligations under the contract, like not complying with details of specifications, not following contract processes, sloppy recording of time extensions and variations, and generally not managing the commercial relationship with the discipline required. Nevertheless, we usually find that once process improvements are implemented, the relationship between the parties improves as well!

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Picture of Authored By<br>Mark Stace

Authored By
Mark Stace

Director Lawyer, PBL Law Group

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Our Commercial Property conveyancing was handled very professionally. Anita’s experience and responsiveness was an asset in this transaction.
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Anita Bradley has been an absolute dream to deal with. Anita's conveyancing skills and knowledge knows absolutely no boundaries along with her effective communication skills which has made selling and buying a completely stress free exchange for us. We recommend PBL Law to everyone looking for outstanding service. We will definitely be returning clients.
Kushlan Aluwihare
PBL Law Group were fantastic. Anita from PBL worked with us closely during our property search and made the exchange and settlement process smooth and stress free. Highly recommended.
Gail Whitford
PBL handled my late mothers estate, they were very obliging and patient with any and all questions that we had, thank you to David , Sharon and the other staff that we dealt with, everyone was so easy to talk to and friendly .David came to the home where my Mother was living and helped her to get her will in order, Sharon helped us through the process of executing her wishes when the time came even doing a house call which was so much easier, thank you all so much
S M
I have experienced an excellent service from PBL (especially from Anita) during the sale of my recent property on Central Coast, and during the purchase of our current property in Sydney. Throughout many challengers, especially with the sale, Anita presented her very professional and knowledgeable conveyancer, positively solving all obstacles. "Above and Beyond" Award going to Anita!!! :-)
Amanda Reitzin
The five-star reviews are well-deserved. I needed a motion and a bylaw drawn up for urgent repairs of my strata unit and the AGM was in two weeks' time. My solicitor was friendly, efficient, knew what documents to ask for, and had all the paperwork prepared well within the timeframe. She also took the time to run through all the legalese and the different possible scenarios with me to make sure I understood. I am so glad to have found this firm and I will not hesitate to use their services again in future if the need arises.
Ricky Cooper
Anita is amazing! So attentive, approachable and communicates everything every step of the way. I have now bought and sold property with Anita and I cannot recommend her highly enough.
Ron Thomsen
Our Commercial Property conveyancing was handled very professionally. Anita’s experience and responsiveness was an asset in this transaction.
Trace M
I am so grateful for Anita Bradley from PBL Law Group helped me with this property settlement, she has went above beyond to ensure I understand everything because of our deafness. I will recommended Anita or their team. Thank you so much for all the hard work you have done for us.
Tricia Wheatstone
For almost 18 months I have been a client of Alex Ilkin. Alex is very knowledgeable and professional and has consistently provided me with thorough, honest and well set out advice, including steering my case through appeal proceedings. He always worked for my best interests with integrity and compassion. I recommend Alex and his team at PBL.