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Dutch construction company Heijmans is entitled to additional compensation of €8 million in a dispute over the building of a lock, although this amount is lower than it had been claiming.

The amount was set in the final judgement of the Arbitration Board for the building industry, as a result of a dispute with the Province of North Holland about the Wilhelmina Lock project in Zaandam, the Netherlands.

The disagreement was over the implementation of a more expensive design for the lock.

Earlier, the Arbitration Board ruled that the province could collect a fine of €2.7 million from Heijmans because of a delay in implementation.

Heijmans said that on the basis of the final judgement, both parties wanted to discuss the decision and the possible restart of the project as soon as possible.

A difference of opinion about the technical implementation and planning of the project arose in 2014, and because mutual discussions about the design, progress and construction did not lead to a decision, the case was submitted to the Arbitration Board.

The Arbitration Board gave an interim award in October 2017. It ruled that a modified design was “an unforeseeable circumstance”, a situation that no one could have foreseen and for which neither party was, therefore, to blame.

Heijmans, however, said that from a legal perspective, the risk of such an unforeseeable circumstance rested with the client.

It was argued that Heijmans was entitled to a reimbursement of costs from the province and to be allowed a longer construction time.

The final ruling is said to offer the two parties sufficient perspective to reach final agreements about extra costs and the implications for the schedule. After finalising these agreements, implementation activities will be resumed, and the project will be completed jointly by the parties, said Heijmans.

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