Relevant Event vs Relevant Matter In Construction

By Samuel Okoronkwo

In this article, I will be delving into the difference between a relevant event and a relevant matter in construction. Relevant events and relevant matters are terms used in some construction contracts, such as JCT contracts. Often, these terms are confused with one another, but the differences are very important. So, let’s get into them…


What is a relevant event? 

A relevant event is an event that causes a delay to the completion date. This is caused by the client, or a neutral event not caused by either party. An important thing to note is that the contract should set out what constitutes a relevant event on a project. Relevant events entitle the contractor to claim an extension of time so that the completion date can be moved and the project is still successful. A relevant event does not necessarily entitle the contractor to claim loss and expense. However, to claim loss and expense, a relevant matter must have occurred.


Here are 5 examples of relevant events…

  1. Exceptionally adverse weather.
  2. Failure to provide information.
  3. The supply of materials and goods by the client.
  4. Delay in giving the contractor possession of the site.
  5. Force majeure. 


What is a relevant matter?

A relevant matter is when the client is responsible for an event that materially affects the progress of the works. This enables the contractor to claim direct loss and/or expense that has been incurred. However, a relevant matter does not always result in a delay to the completion date, which means it may not entitle the contractor to an extension of time.


Here are 5 examples of relevant matters…

  1. Discrepancies in the contract documents.
  2. Failure to give the contractor access to and from the site.
  3. Delays in receiving instructions.
  4. Disruption caused by works being carried out by the client.
  5. Instructions relating to variations and expenditure of provisional sums.


As stated earlier, it is important not to confuse a relevant event with a relevant matter. To summarise, a relevant event entitles the contractor to an extension of time and a relevant matter entitles the contractor to claim direct loss or expense. 

Remember, if you are faced with a construction dispute, Mercantile Barristers will be happy to assist. Do use the enquiry form below to contact us to discuss your matter further.


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