For the second time in as many years, I have been "told" by a project
manager that, should our client ("the owner") request it, I must provide
construction engineering for the contractor on a major public works project.
Public works clients typically have engineering and construction personnel,
and historically they have "held hands" with the contractor on such
projects, because that is what is required of such public "servants".
However, I'm NOT the "owner," I'm the "owner's representative." In my
previous experience, the contractor himself was responsible for providing
his own engineering services. In fact, this very topic is addressed in the
project specifications for this project. If the constructor wants to vary in
some way from the procedures outlined in his drawings, he is to submit a
request to the "owner's authorized representative" (that's our firm in this
However, the project manager feels strongly that the contractor has the
stroke with the client, to convince him that if we don't provide such a
service, we are "holding up the job." This client (since it is a public
entity) is scared to death of this eventuality. Even though the contract
with the constructor stipulates a date certain by which the project must be
complete, this doesn't seem to comfort the client at all.
I want some input, here. Can the client "compel" us to provide such
construction services? If we are "working" for the client, can we also
"work" for the contractor?
Why, if the specifications state that the constructor must provide these
services on his own nickel, may the client then turn around and tell US, the
EOR, to do it?
What if the client convinces the contractor to pay us for the work? Is this
I'd like to know your thoughts.