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Approved Contractor List
Hi all, some advice please. I've been working part-time as a Site Director for a commercial unit and was recently offered a chance to carry out a watching brief 'on my own'. I put in a tender, the house holder / developer accepted and I was all set to go until the house holder mentioned that I was going to do the job to the local Archaeological Trust. They immediately caled a halt to the job and said I'd have to be 'investigated' because I wasn't on their approved contractors list. I've now lost the job to a unit who are on the list.

I suppose my question is, do I have to be on the trust's list in order to work on their patch? If this does turn out to be the case I have no problem with getting approval, but if this isn't right, I've lost a nice little job because of it.

Any thoughts appreciated
Actually, they are not allowed to force a developer to use someone from their approved list on the grounds that it can be considered restraint of trade or something like that and is therefore actionable. I suggest you sue them for loss of earnings or something like that.

Gentleman Adventurer and Periphrastic Sesquipedalian

Preternatural eventuation is an amaranthine potentiality
Sounds like tosh to me. As I understand it, Trusts, County Mounties and the like have absolutely no authority to reccomend or exclude contractors.

Many compile lists of contractors who have completed work to a satisfactory standard on their patch, in order that those comissioning the work can make an informed choice. In most cases, I thought that it was normal to suggest that prospective clients contact the IFA for a list of contractors in their area.

But excluding people on little or no evidence? I'm very suprised, particularly as I remember cases of curators being scared off when trying to exclude practitioners widely believed to be v dodgy indeed! [:0]

D. Vader
Senior Consultant

Vader Maull & Palpatine
Archaeological Consultants
Deathstar House
Endor Industrial Estate
Milton Keynes
RD22 3PO
Sorry. Why even think about litigation. The situation legally is as follows:

It is a developers right to choose who they want. The planning condition requires a written scheme of investigation to be appoved by the local planning authourity. The planning condition may include a clause saying something like "professional archaeological body approved by them." Thus they have the power of veto over who the developer will employ.

This lead to appoved lists to save time for everybody.

In reality I doubt you would have been in a position to do a watching brief. For example do you have the following;

1. Insurance - public liability and accident - this would cost you about UKP600.

2. Equipment.

3. A host of finds and enviro specialists you could call on if neccessary.

4. Safety statement and so on and so forth.

5. Somewhere to store the archive.

Equally what would happen if you found something and it needed digging and you needed more people?

Best bet in circumstances is to do a deal with an established small practice.


Its my experience that curators and the like cannot even supply an 'approved' list as this might imply some sort of preference to a set of companies, more often as Sith says they just maintain a list of companies who have successfully completed work. But I would defend the curators right to make sure work is recorded to a adequate standard: in most cases getting on the list (of whatever kind) is normally a matter of sending your manuals off with a set of recording sheets etc.
In my experience, "Approved" contractor lists are a nonsense - it is practically impossible NOT to put someone on if they ask to be added, because of restraint of trade laws. My County doesn't even bother to maintain one.

Assuming the Trust are the Curatorial body for the area, they would be entitled to ask you for a statement of experience, proof of professional competance, any corporate details and standard method statements, as well as (obviously) a WSI for the site in question, prior to recommending approval of your proposal to do the watching brief. As the monitoring body, they would need to be assured that you would be suitably qualified and resourced to complete the project through post-ex analysis and on to detailed publication, should that be required. If you can provide credible information along those lines, they shouldn't be able to stop you working. However, Dr. Pete does have a point in that you may have found the resourcing and insurance issues difficult on your own.
Well, my rather intemperate response was somewhat extreme, for which I apologise. However, my point remains, as reiterated by Curator Kid. The curators that I have worked with will often supply a list of contractors that have worked in the county, but this is not an Approved List. It is merely a list of contractors who do work in the county. I know of several threatened lawsuits by contractors, who were excluded from a curator's list, all of which resulted in them being included against the curator's better judgement. Of course, part of this may have been the council's refusal to support their own staff.

Gentleman Adventurer and Periphrastic Sesquipedalian

Preternatural eventuation is an amaranthine potentiality
I think the consensus here is that any curator that says a developer must use someone from an approved list is probably going beyond their powers. They may open themselves to legal action from those not on the list, while if an "approved" contractor does an incompetent job they may be open to legal action from the developer.

There are small, one-man-band type companies who do competent work, so it can be done. However, it does take a lot of preparation, tooling-up and careful thought before going into business in this way. Anyone doing it on an ad-hoc, spur-of-the-moment basis is unlikely to be able to meet IFA standards and may fall down on other grounds as well.


to let, fully furnished
Something I should have said was ringing up the curator and telling them what you are doing normally might do the trick. This is particularly so if the curator had monitored a site you were directing on.

Equally why mention the fact you had got the job to your rivals. (I know in this case it was the developer). Best telling nobody until you have:

the WSI approved
the letter of instruction from the client
the overdraft arranged to cover the cash flow.

It is annoying when you loose a job after having won the tender competition but it is a fact of life however unfair this may seem. My advice is put this one down to experience. Discuss the fact that you want to set up on your own with curators, produce the things you need to have, get your resource base sorted out and then think about tendering for that all important first job. (but dont spend six months getting everything perfect)

I am not saying however we have a perfect system by any means.

If you suspect or can prove mal practice them could you contact David rather discuss this in a public forum.
Thanks for all your replies folks.

It was certainly my feeling that the trust were in no position to force a selection from their list and what you've said seems to confirm it. I can't see me taking legal action, although I will contact the trust to tell them that I'm unhappy with their actions.

In answer to Dr Pete's post And Curator Kid's comment, I do understand what you are both saying but I also understand what it takes to carry out a watching brief. I've carried out a number in a trust neighbouring the one in question without any problems - I'm set up as a 'Sole Trader', and I can place a 'tick' against every item on Dr Pete's list. All of which adds to my annoyance when I was excluded from this job.

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