Experienced project delivery team members know too well the importance of timely and proper notice during a construction project. Ideally, contractual notice provisions, and any penalties for non-compliance, should apply equally to all of the contracting parties. For example, failure to comply with a notice provision concerning contract changes could bar a party from pursuing claims. And, untimely or improper notice can, likewise, prevent certain defenses to claims.
Nowhere is notice more scrutinized than in the federal government contracting arena. Recently, the United States Court of Federal Claims issued two separate decisions involving the same construction project and the same parties and dealing with two specific aspects of notice in the federal government contracting process. The court’s decisions on the notice issues may, at first, appear to contradict each other or to favor one party over the other. A closer look at these two decisions reveals that notice requirements, in the context of federal government construction contracts, can come in multiple forms and notice is not a “one size fits all” proposition.