Project Management

Trouble is a Claim “Door Bell”: Ding-Dong, Where’s Your Notice?

Rob Kelly, Jr

On a  construction project, “trouble” often means and leads to a claim by the contractor against the owner. However, there are certain, initial steps that the contractor can take, and/or that the owner can require, to best protect each other and the project from impact. These initial steps can be referred to as “Notice,” and are often, for good reason, incorporated into the terms of the contract. Proper Notice enables timely awareness of the issue and its potential impact. It provides recovery options. It allows the owner to make informed decisions and mitigate the potential impact of the issue. Ultimately, one hopes, prompt and proper Notice provides the best opportunity to resolve issues in a fashion that minimizes actual project impact. Although the nature of the discussion in this paper is that of a construction project, the concepts are universal for project managers in all work environments.


When the contractor first begins to experience something that he or she considers to be beyond the scope of the project, it makes sense for the owner to be notified of this. After all, the owner will likely be asked to compensate the contractor for any increased cost or performance time that the issue causes for the contractor.

This communication from the contractor, which is often required by contract terms, can be referred to as &…

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"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception."

- Groucho Marx