With the anticipated growth in US offshore wind building, all individuals in the method ought to undertake necessary threat administration approaches to keep away from issues and disputes that drive up prices and trigger delays. This text highlights the necessary ideas of coordination among the many events and the usage of an impartial disputes advisor to resolve points in real-time throughout building.
The technical and logistical complexity of offshore wind tasks — in consideration of seabed situations, use of assist vessels, sub-sea cabling, bigger elements, floating platforms, and excessive climate, to call a couple of such components — makes such tasks significantly inclined to the danger of building disputes.
With the popular procurement strategy in offshore wind tasks being a single developer awarding a number of contracts to specialised contractors and suppliers (turbine producer, cable provider, basis fabricator, transportation supplier, set up contractor, and so forth.), the necessity for in depth interfacing amongst these separate contractors provides one other stage of complexity and threat.
Lengthy earlier than building begins, when the developer is drafting contract paperwork for all its contractors and suppliers, the developer should acknowledge and tackle the crucial significance of interfacing and coordination with and amongst all these events.
The developer ought to put together contract provisions and associated technical necessities that tackle coordination, scheduling, and well timed discover duties throughout the development and provide contracts. Doing so will promote and facilitate lively and joint participation by all concerned events all through the planning and building phases. Such provisions must be mirrored in all of the concerned contracts, to the extent sensible. Whereas there could also be some shifting provisions, an important side is to determine the discussion board and the processes that can assist all events keep away from and mitigate the dangers of coordination issues and disputes.
Contractors ought to actively wish to and be required to take part in coordination conferences with the developer and different contractors. The varied contracts ought to mutually require events to offer well timed suggestions on interfacing and overlapping considerations reminiscent of scope gaps, accountability and legal responsibility matrices, and venture scheduling.
Contractors must also memorialize coordination duties amongst them in the type of interfacing or coordination agreements. A part of these coordination duties ought to embody immediate discover necessities to the developer and contractors as points or delays come up.
As a lot as fairly attainable, the developer ought to try and allocate dangers between the events finest able to getting ready for, assuming, and mitigating these dangers. In flip, contractors ought to keep away from assuming dangers and being answerable for points exterior their management, together with early venture delays or provide chain disruptions.
The developer ought to contemplate appointing an impartial disputes advisor to resolve contractor disputes as they come up as a method of making an attempt to resolve points and keep away from costly litigation.
Within the occasion a dispute can’t be resolved by the impartial advisor, the developer ought to make sure the formal disputes decision procedures are aligned among the many contractors, and contemplate together with discretionary language concerning the developer’s proper to consolidate disputes on a venture.
Implementing these threat administration approaches into your offshore wind contracts now ought to result in higher communication and transparency among the many events throughout the venture and assist the events keep away from costly litigation in the longer term.