Quantum wordbite: causation and entitlement — the distinction and implications for quantity surveyors

Introduction

Causation and entitlement are different and distinct. Whilst both influence the outcome of a construction dispute, they have different meanings and implications. This #wordbite aims to clarify the meaning and significance of these terms, and the implications for quantity surveyors who are appointed as experts in formal dispute resolution.

Causation

Causation refers to the connection between an event and its consequences. For instance, if a contractor causes a delay to the completion of a project, a causation analysis seeks to establish the reason for the delay and the impact it had on the project. For the expert quantity surveyor, causation is relevant for establishing the appropriate allocation of costs or value, either in contract or as damages (as the case may be).

Entitlement

Entitlement is the right to claim or recover something (typically cost or relief). It is the interpretation of the contract and/or the law rather than cause and measurement. For instance, if a contractor causes a delay, entitlement is the contractual or legal basis for the claim or defence. This may include, for example, the timing or correctness of a notice under the contract, or a limitation of liability. Entitlement is a matter for the instructing lawyer and the court. Unless instructed to do so, the expert quantity surveyor should leave entitlement to those best placed to consider it.

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