Over recent years, Philip Loots and Donald Charrett have presented papers and run training courses in a number of countries for construction professionals and lawyers on many aspects of construction contracts.
In the course of their roles as construction lawyers operating at both the “front end” (negotiation, entry into and administration of construction contracts), and the “back end” (dispute resolution when one or more contracting parties was unsatisfied with the contractual outcome), they have observed the need for greater understanding of contractual principles, and the specific features and requirements of construction contracts. Engineers without formal legal training frequently administer such contracts, but are nevertheless required to comply with the contract and the applicable law. Philip and Donald’s book, Practical Guide to Engineering and Construction Contracts, published in 2009 by CCH, was aimed at engineers (and others) in Australia who are involved in the negotiation and administration of construction contracts, to enable them to understand the risks involved, and how to minimise them.
Philip and Donald set up Loots&Charrett Pty Ltd to enable them to provide training courses in the implementation and administration of construction contracts, tailored to the needs of specific audiences. The focus of such courses is on the general contractual principles applicable in both common law and civil law jurisdictions, namely, freedom of contract (the ability of legal persons to contract to do anything that is not contrary to the law or public policy), and pacta sunt servanda (agreements are to be adhered to), as well as the specific features of construction contracts that are widely implemented internationally. Loots&Charrett training courses can be based on widely used international contracts such as FIDIC, or other industry contracts such as LOGIC, or tailored to the requirements of a “bespoke” company specific contract.
Loots&Charrett training courses do not constitute legal advice, and cannot necessarily address the specific requirements of a particular jurisdiction. Notwithstanding freedom of contract and the primacy of the actual words of the contract that has been entered into, every construction contract is also subject to the applicable law, which may constrain or otherwise alter the application of the contractual provisions. In the case of an international construction contract, a number of different legal jurisdictions may apply. For example, the law of the contract may not be the law of the country in which the construction takes place, which law will generally govern employment and property issues; the law governing any arbitration may be that of a third jurisdiction.
Loots&Charrett do not profess expertise in the specific application of local law to construction contracts outside their own jurisdiction, and accordingly their training courses are not intended to and cannot replace competent local legal advice tailored to the requirements of a specific contract and project.