Question What is the difference between the “period for reply” (as required in the Contract Data Part One) and the timescales stated within the clauses in the contract (such as the set periods for notification, submission of quotations for compensation events and acceptance of the programme)? As these are all considered to be communications under the contract, which takes precedence: the “period for reply” (which is discretionary) or the prescribed timescale?

Answer NEC3 Option C clause 13.3 confirms that the parties reply within the “period for reply”, unless the contract states otherwise. Therefore if there is a specific period stated in the contract for a communication, as with the examples referred to above, then the stated timescale applies. If the contract does not specify a period for a communication then the “period for reply” stated in Contract Data Part One applies. The “period for reply” is not discretionary: it is stated in Contract Data Part One and must therefore be complied with for those communications to which it applies. The only exception to this is cases in which the parties have complied with the provisions of Clause 13.5 where “the Project Manager and Contractor agree to” an extension “before the reply is due”.