August 6, 2022

What is Abortive Work in Construction

What is abortive work in construction? Abortive work is a common term used in construction projects, but if you are not sure about this term, below is a simple explanation.

Abortive work in construction refers to the work which has been done or started but is no longer required for the project scope or final project development. This part of work that has been started or completed will be wasted due to changes to the scope of work or due to other reasons as mentioned below.

Reasons for abortive work in construction projects

As mentioned above, abortive is the work that has already been completed or started carrying out but is no longer required for the final development. Such abortive work can arise due to many reasons including miscommunication. Below are some of the reasons for abortive work in construction projects.

Abortive Work in Construction

Abortive work can arise in any stage of project including design stage, tender stage or in construction stage. However abortive work during the construction stage can have major impact on project cost depending on the work carry out.

Reasons for abortive work are as follows.

  • Changes to the project scope (This can be a variation order during construction stage)
  • Poor communication or miscommunication between parties to the contract
  • Discrepancies in drawings
  • Carrying out Unauthorized work without approval
  • Changes in legislation.

Claims for abortive work

In some stages of development, there is no way of claiming abortive work. For example, during the tender stage, there can be many addendum for the tender scope. If the tender estimation has been done or started to work out on some part, such amendments may request changes to the original scope which can be a complete waste of time for the tenderer. However, tenderer do not have a provision for a claim in such a situation.

If abortive work occur during the construction stage, the contractor can raise a claim depending on the situation and cause for the abortive work. If it is due to changes of scope of the project and if the contractor has done the abortive work with approval, then he can include his claim for such work. However if the abortive work is due to poor communication, misunderstanding or carrying out unauthorized work, the contractor may not get paid for such work.

Therefore it is most important for the contractor to communicate well with consultants and carry out work after getting written approval. If he follows the contract document, he has the chance to raise his claim for any abortive work which is not due to his mistake.

Things to include in your claim for abortive work

Abortive work can be claimed depending on the reason for such work and according to the contract clauses. If you qualify for any abortive work claim this can be submitted under variations. But don’t forget that most of the abortive work during the construction stage include construction cost for the work done and the cost of demolishing or dismantling of the work.

However, all these claim situations depend on the contract and reason for such abortive work. Therefore you need to understand claiming situation before raising your claim.

How to reduce abortive work?

Abortive work is always a waste of money, time and effort. Therefore it is good to avoid such work where possible in order to complete the project within the stipulated cost.

Below are some of the ways that you can reduce abortive work in construction projects.

  • Ensure proper communication between parties to the contract
  • Avoid unauthorized work
  • Understanding the project scope
  • Carry out work according to the specification and approved drawings

Above are some of the ways to reduce the abortive work for any construction project. However, in most projects, it is difficult to avoid abortive work fully due to the complexity and its nature.

Also read: Factors Affecting Construction Labour Productivity

Amila Gamage

Amila Gamage is the founder of Sihela Consultants and Builtlogy digital magazine. Her experience in the construction industry is over 17 years specializing in contract management. She is also an ACLP certified trainer in Singapore and conducts workshops and training sessions on related topics.

View all posts by Amila Gamage →

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