Duties & Obligations Under Construction Contract In Zimbabwe

construction law in Zimbabwe

Article by Manyara Mavis Musara

The Contract

The duties and obligations of the parties to a construction project should be clear from the contract. A contract is an agreement entered into between two or more people with the intention of creating legally enforceable obligations. A construction contract is an agreement between an Employer(client ) and a Contractor to construct, repair, modify, renovate or even demolish something in an agreed time frame, for an agreed price and to agreed standards.

The parties are not bound by any standard or prescribed contract as long as the terms of the contract are lawful. The Employer is the party for whom the work is carried out and is usually the owner of the land upon which the work is to be carried out. The Contractor is the party responsible for carrying out the works and can perform the works solely or opt to subcontract part of the works to subcontractors for specialist services.

The Contractor is rarely allowed to subcontract the entirety of the works to another contractor.

The Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (CIFoZ) is a construction industry association in Zimbabwe. It established the National Joint Practice Committee (NJPC) Standard Contracts 2000 which are based on Fédération Internationale des Ingénieurs-Conseils  (FIDIC) Contracts and have been approved by FIDIC. The FIDIC Forms of Contract are now common in Zimbabwe, especially where the construction projects are large.

The obligations of the parties listed below are based on the FIDIC Forms of Contract.

Duties and obligations of the Employer

  • The Employer covenants to pay the Contractor the contract price in consideration of the execution of the works and the remedying of defects therein
  • The Employer shall give the Contractor right of access to, and possession of all parts of the site within the time stated to enable the Contractor to proceed in accordance with the programme submitted
  • The Employer shall provide reasonable assistance to the Contractor at the request of the Contractor like copies of the laws of the country which are relevant to the Contract. The Employer should also enable the Contractor’s applications for any permits, licenses or approvals required by the laws of the country.
  • The Employer shall be responsible for ensuring that the employer’s personnel and the Employer’s other contractors on the site cooperate with the Contractor’s efforts and take actions similar to those which the Contractor is required to take in relation to the clauses relevant for ‘Safety Procedures’ and ‘Protection of the Environment
  • If the Employer considers himself entitled to any payment the Employer or the Engineer shall give notice and particulars to the Contractor as soon as practicable after the employer became aware of the event or circumstances giving rise to the claim.

Duties and obligations of the Contractor

  • The Contractor shall design (to the extent specified in the Contract), execute and complete the Works in accordance with the Contract and with the Engineer’s instructions and shall remedy any defects in the works.
  • The Contractor shall provide the plant and Contractor’s documents specified in the Contract, and all Contractor’s personnel, goods, consumables and other things and services required to carry out the works.
  • The Contractor shall be responsible for the adequacy, stability and safety of all site operations and methods of construction.
  • The Contractor shall, whenever required by the Engineer, submit details of the arrangements and methods which the Contractor proposes to use.
  • No significant alteration to these arrangements and methods shall be made without this having been notified to the Engineer.
  • The Contractor shall obtain a performance security for proper performance and shall ensure that the performance security is valid and enforceable until the Contractor has executed and completed the works and remedied any defects
  • The Contractor shall allow the following to carry out work on or near the site:
    – The Employer’s personnel
    – Any other contractors employed by the Employer
    – The personnel of any legally constituted public authorities (government bodies) that carry out work not included in the Contract.
  • The Contractor shall be responsible for the acts or defaults of any subcontractor and his employees
  • The Contractor shall be responsible for the correct positioning of all parts of the works and shall rectify (correct) any error in the positions, levels, dimensions or alignment of the works.

Please take note that this article should not be taken as legal advice but as general information regarding the subject matter. The writer can be contacted at mmusara@mmmlegal.co.zw for more information.