Last edited 08 Oct 2020

Force account work

Force account work, also known as work-by-force account, or time and material work, is a payment method for construction work where there is no existing agreement on cost.

In this case, the works are undertaken with the understanding that the client will pay the contractor according to the actual cost of their labour, materials, and equipment, with an additional percentage for overheads and a mark-up for profit.

It can be used when the contractor and client are unable to agree a unit price or lump sum amount, or if these methods are impracticable, for example, when the quantities and scope of work are unknown at the time of tendering, or for a change order requiring extra, unforeseen work identified after construction has already begun.

Force account work can permit the early start of construction work in critical areas, and can save staff time and overhead costs that would be required for contract package preparation, bidding, evaluation and the award of contracts.

However, it can leave both parties open to unknown costs. The client may not know the quantity, or rates of the works required, and the contractor may agree to very broad terms such as 'all costs' which can leave them struggling to make claims later in the project.

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