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Raising the bar - Time bars and their enforceability in English law EPC contracts

  • United Kingdom
  • Construction and engineering - Articles


Contractors’ claims for additional time and money are a common occurrence in many major construction and engineering projects. EPC contracts often use time bar clauses as a method of managing contractors’ claims, and ensuring that the employer is notified of a claim at an early stage and can take steps to mitigate delays and costs overruns. A time bar specifies a window within which a contractor must notify the employer of its claims. Failure to do so will result in the contractor losing its entitlement to additional time/money. Following the recent decision in Obrascon Huarte Lain SA v Attorney General for Gibraltar, which concerned Clause 20.1 of the FIDIC suite of  major works contracts, we look at the key considerations in drafting an effective time bar clause, and the requirements for a contractors’ notice, whether these clauses are conditions precedent to entitlement and when time will start running for the notice to be served. We also look at the challenges which may made to time bar clauses in EPC contracts, and their relationship with liquidated damages clauses.  

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