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Nobody wants to make mistakes, particularly in investing where being wrong isn’t just a hit to the ego, it’s a hit to your bottom line. And yet, no investor has a 100% success rate free of errors. Mistakes are inevitable. In order to learn from them and become better investors we first need to be able to acknowledge mistakes when they happen. Otherwise we’re apt to keep making the same missteps again and again to the detriment of our portfolios.

We believe strongly in fostering an environment that promotes bringing all errors to the surface so we can learn from them. Discussing mistakes, giving candid feedback to each other, and conducting regular post mortems is an integral part of our culture and one of our strengths as investors. We feel this makes us better investors over time and better able to achieve wealth creation.

The mental model we use to differentiate the two types of mistakes in investing is . Errors of omission are mistakes where we failed to act when we should have. These are instances where we conducted analysis and performed due diligence on a company, we thought there may be an opportunity for investment, and then for whatever reason we decided not to act. The error becomes apparent later when the company performs contrary to how we expected. These mistakes represent missed opportunities based on decisions that did not work out in our favour. Canadian automotive supplier, Magna, is an example of an error of omission for us. A few years ago we seriously considered this company. It seemed like a reasonable opportunity but we got hung up on (and overly punitive on) the business model, so we decided not to take a position. In hindsight, it met our criteria and it would have made sense to act, but we simply didn't pull the trigger. That was a mistake. As investors, we can live with errors of omission—we don’t like them because they mean potentially forfeiting high returns—but at the end of the day, these mistakes do not impair capital.

Errors of commission on the other hand, impair capital, and because of this they are much tougher to swallow. Errors of commission are those where we chose to do something—we acted and we were wrong. We analyzed the company in question, and then made the decision to either add or eliminate in the portfolio, which later proved to be the wrong call. Legacy Oil + Gas Inc. was a company we had purchased where we underestimated the impact on the balance sheet from a steep reduction in the commodity price environment. We overestimated the quality of the business and return potential for the investment. This was an error of commission that did impair capital—the worst possible result in investing. Fortunately, our weight in this company wasn’t large, but the mistake still stung.

Errors of commission are significantly worse than errors of omission because they represent a palpable consequence for investors—the loss of hard cash, as opposed to the loss of potential cash. Errors of omission mean you’re missing the upside (the forecasted value increase in the price of an investment), whereas errors of commission affect the downside (risk protection) and they prevent excellence. While both types of errors are common in investing, our goal as shepherds of client capital is to make as few of either as possible, but far fewer errors of commission.

For more on what can be learned from mistakes, read our discussion paper, “ Outlet Store Locations Get To Buy Moschino 10MM LOGO LEATHER BALLERINA FLATS Free Shipping How Much T4ZCROUW

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The Collaboration grants are available to all HiPEAC PhD students and junior post-doctoral researchers. Each grant will provide EUR 5 000 for a 3 month collaborative visit . The origin or destination institution has to be a HiPEAC member.

Please note that no call for Collaboration Grants is open right now.

What are Collaboration Grants?

Every year, HiPEAC will be funding several collaboration grants for HiPEAC PhD students and junior post-doctoral researchers wanting to visit another HiPEAC institution (either an academic institution or a company). The students and their host prepare a small research project for the stay (hence the topic is defined by the students and their hosts). The steering committee decides on the final allocation of the collaboration grants - based on the quality of the proposals.

Although targeted at PhD students, junior post-doctoral researchers are also eligible for this program. The funding for a 3 month collaboration grant consists of a lump sum of up to EUR 5 000 which should cover all additional costs (travelling, housing, etc.) - it cannot be used as a salary. The objective of the collaboration grants is to stimulate real collaboration between HiPEAC members. The initial goal is to fund 14 collaboration grants per year.

Selection criteria

The proposals are independently evaluated by an external panel which provides a ranked list of candidates.

The steering committee decides on the final allocation of the collaboration grants - based on this ranked list.


Who can apply?

The grants are available to all HiPEAC Affiliated PhD students and junior post-doctoral researchers coming from or visiting institutions that are HiPEAC members.

Why PhD students and junior post-doctoral researchers?

Across Europe there is wide variation in the standard length of time taken to complete a PhD. In order to account for these differences, junior post-doctoral researchers are also allowed to apply for these grants. These grants are primarily aimed at PhD students and individuals in an early stage of an academic career.

Where can I go?

You can visit any academic or industrial site, provided the origin or destination institution is a HiPEAC member.

Can I go to America?

Yes, you can, provided your institution is a HiPEAC member.

Can I visit a company?

Yes, you can, provided the origin or destination institution is a HiPEAC member.

Do I have to get my supervisor's approval?

No, but it is advisable to consult with your supervisor before applying for his/her opinions on where to visit.

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The Ins and Outs Of Differing Site Condition Claims


William C. Last, Jr.

Attorney at Law

A recent United States Court of Claims case, entitled (2005) 64 Fed Cl. 63, points out the in and outs of differing site condition claims. The project involved the Point Mugu Naval Air Weapons Station, in Point Mugu, California. The contractor sought, in part, an equitable adjustment of the contract amount for a differing site condition. Generally, under Federal Acquisition Regulations the contract can be equitably adjusted for differing site conditions.

The contractor, Orlosky Inc., failed to conduct a pre-bid site inspection. The U.S. asserted that the failure to make such a pre-bid site investigation negates the contractor's right to recover for the differing site conditions, if they were discernable by such an inspection. The contractor, on the other hand, argued the U.S. should not avoid liability for misrepresenting the site conditions simply because the contractor failed to make a pre-bid site inspection.

Differing site conditions are generally defined as unforeseen site conditions that are discovered after the contract has been executed and are different from those set forth in the plans and specifications or are different from those that should be encountered at the site. The differing site conditions can be underground conditions or differing conditions that may be found in remodeling an existing structure.

An example of an unforeseen condition in an existing structure would be the discovery of asbestos that must be abated before the work proceeds. Differing underground conditions are classified as either Type I or Type II. Type I conditions are subsurface or latent conditions which differ from those on the plans or in the contract documents. Type II conditions are unusual physical conditions which differ materially from those ordinarily encountered.

In the case, the question that was before the court is who bears the cost of overcoming the differing site condition. In many contracts the owner attempts to shift the risk of the unforeseen and differing condition to the contractor. Owners will include contract clauses that state that they do not warrant the actual site conditions and obligate the contractor to investigate the site and warrant that they have done so before they submitted their bid. Generally, to shift the risk to the contractor, the clause must specifically disclaim the site condition that is at issue, state that information in the plans and specifications do not accurately reflect the actual conditions; state that the contractor should not rely on any information as to that condition that maybe included in the plans and specifications; and that the contractor is solely responsible for determining the actual site condition.

As to private works differing site condition disputes, if the contractor did not contractually assume the risk of such unknown condition, it should, generally, be able to recover the cost of such additional work. It may also be possible for the contractor to rescind the contract if materially differing site conditions are discovered after the contract is signed and before the work has commenced.

As to California public works contracts, if the contract does not shift the risk of differing site conditions to the contractor, the contractor should be able recover the additional costs associated with such differing conditions. The right to such a recovery is based on a misrepresentation and/or implied warranty as to completeness of the plans and specifications. The misrepresentation of the site conditions and includes statements in the plans and specifications that are likely to mislead the contractor. Under California law, however, if the public owner includes risk shifting clause relative to differing site conditions, yet misrepresents the site condition, such clauses are not enforced. ( (1967) 65 C2d 787)

There are occasions when the owner includes such a limitation clause, but fails to give the contractor complete access to the site. For example, the bid documents and the contract could include such a clause but the owner will not the contractor into certain site locations thereby preventing the contractor from discovering asbestos in hidden but accessible locations. If that occurs, generally, the clause will not be enforced.

In the case, the work to be performed included "a coordination study of the electrical high voltage system and replacement of fuses and other electrical apparatuses, as well as resetting of reclosers, which are "switches placed on a pole to provide emergency shut off in case of a short circuit."" After the award of the contract, but before the pre-construction meeting, the contractor conducted a site inspection and discovered "some alarming conditions regarding the reclosers that increased the cost of performing the contracted for work.

The bid solicitation package for the Point Mugu project included the following statement: "Bidders are expected to inspect the site where services are to be performed and to satisfy themselves to all general and local conditions that may affect the cost of performance of the contract to the extent such information is reasonably obtainable. In no event will a failure to inspect the site constitute grounds for withdrawal of a bid after opening or for a claim after award of the contract." It was clear from the facts that had the contractor made a pre-bid inspection, it would have discovered the condition for which it sought additional compensation.

In analyzing the question the Court of Claims reviewed the basic components of a differing site condition claim. In essence the contractor must show "that the conditions actually encountered were 'reasonably unforeseeable based on all the information available to the contractor at the time of bidding.'" , 834 F.2d 1576, 1581 (Fed. Cir. 1987)) Since some of the differing site conditions the contractor sought additional compensation for were reasonably foreseeable in a site inspection, his claim was denied.


The case basically stands for the proposition that if a contractor is given an opportunity to view the project site, it should do so. If the contractor fails to visit the site before submitting its bid, it runs the risk of bearing the cost of performing additional work that was not in the plans and specifications but reasonly ascertainable on a site visit. If you undertake a site inspection and the owner refuses to provide access to critical portions of the prospective project site, the contractor should confirm such limitations by so informing the owner.

This article, 8 2005, was written by William C. Last, Jr. of Last Faoro. Mr. Last is an attorney who has been specializing in Construction Law for over eighteen years. Mr. Last also holds a California AB contractors license. If you have any questions Mr. Last can be contacted at 415-764-1990 or 650-425-7679. He has other articles on his web site: . This bulletin is published periodically to provide general information about current legal issues. If you have a specific legal question or need legal advice, you should contact an attorney.

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