An English idiom, from the 16th century confirms that you cannot both eat your cake and have it… which has been reversed (nonsensically) into ‘you cannot have your cake and eat it’!
For contracts, this means you cannot have all three core objectives in one project. You cannot have both high quality, low price and tight timescales.
In Trebor v ADT the court said:
“The timing was very tight… it was imperative that the new lines were up and running by Christmas 2003, in order to meet the surge in demand for popcorn, particularly for the cinema trade, over the Christmas period. This timetable could not be changed.”
But the same project was costed “on a requirement of minimum spend to introduce a safe system of work.”
So tight timescale, minimum spend… and avoiding the risk of fire during production of popcorn through the hot oil method!
Unsurprisingly, the project came unstuck.
What should you do?
Pick one. Choose your key objective against which the project data, works documents and timetable and all future changes will be assessed.
Case: Trebor Bassett Holdings Ltd & Anor v ADT Fire and Security Plc  EWHC 1936 (TCC). This case was appealed.