JCT 2016 Suite of Contracts Update

The Joint Contracts Tribunal continues to release its 2016 suite of contracts and, following the earlier release of the Minor Works and the Short Form Sub-Contracts (June 2016), we now (September 2016) see the release of the Design and Build Contract and Sub-Contract.

It is perhaps an observable fact that it is the design and build contract that has come before the release of the standard building contracts. Perhaps this is a sign of the trends within our industry; a move towards more design and build projects. Alternatively, perhaps it is nothing more than the fact that there is only one design and build contract to proof read, whilst there are several traditional contracts to come. Either way, Employers will no doubt soon invite contractors to tender upon the JCT Design and Build Contract, 2016, so what has changed?

The answer is perhaps “not much”. In a period of relative “legal” stability for our industry (at least since the 2011 JCT contracts were released), this is more a refining than a reshaping exercise.

Besides some changes in terminology, we note updates such as the following:

  • performance bonds and parent company guarantees are now included as an express option (instead of being added repeatedly  by bespoke wording);
  • the payment mechanism is streamlined – notably as regards resolving loss and expense claims quickly; &
  • new wording takes account of recent legislation, such as the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and the CDM Regulations 2015. We also see wording to take account of the JCT’s own Public Sector Supplement of 2011 (which discusses fair payment, transparency and building information modelling in public sector contracts).

In essence, the contract is now updated to better reflect the current public sector methods and standards of procurement; with perhaps the impact that many of those developments will find their way into private sector contracts, as and when employers decide that these new rules are positive.

Whilst it will take a more detailed note or a good seminar to bring yourself fully up to date (and here we can help you, as Alex Rayner is currently preparing a seminar, details of which will follow), perhaps we need only surmise what we think is the JCT’s main aim with this new contract; “similar, but better”.

If we can assist you in any way, or if you simply want to discuss the needs of your construction and engineering project, we would be delighted to meet with you either in our office or at your office to discuss your issues. Please contact us at any time.

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