JCT 2024 is on the way
The Joint Contracts Tribunal (“JCT”) contracts is one of the most widely used standard form suite of construction contracts in the UK. With the current edition of the JCT contracts being published in 2016, the time has come for an updated suite to take account of recent legislation, case law and market practice. We are currently short on detail, but the JCT has outlined some key changes it hopes to make in the 2024 editions, as follows:
Modernising and streamlining
JCT users can expect to see provisions that allow for increased flexibility for notices to be sent electronically together with electronic signing, which we are sure will be a welcome change as the industry continues to take a progressive approach to digital working.
The JCT 2024 will also see the adoption of gender neutral language across the suite of contracts. We are particularly pleased to see this announcement given our recent work alongside Constructing Excellence in the North East and other law firms in the region, and our commitment to adopting gender neutral language in the drafting of bespoke construction and engineering contracts and ancillary documentation.
Given the key recent changes to the law, namely the Building Safety Act, it has been reported that the new edition will include significant updates in this regard. Further, changes will be made to take into account the new insolvency grounds that were introduced under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020.
Additionally, the new edition will include a due date for final payment after termination, which will remove the uncertainty on this point within the 2016 suite and will reflect the requirements of the Construction Act.
Liquidated Damages and Termination
We understand the new edition will make clear when liquidated damages apply upon termination to take account of the decision of the Supreme Court in Triple Point Technology Inc v PTT Public Company Ltd in which it was confirmed that a liquidated damages clause will generally only apply up to the termination of a contract, with general damages for delay applicable thereafter. A full discussion of this case can be found here.
Extensions of Time
It is anticipated that the period of time for an Employer to assess an extension of time claims will be reduced from 12 weeks to 8 weeks from receipt of the required particulars.
In addition, there will be updates as to how statutory powers are dealt with and ‘Statutory Undertakers’ will be redefined to ‘Statutory Providers’.
Finally, new Relevant Events will be included to deal with epidemics, unexploded ordnance, contaminated materials and asbestos.
The JCT 2024 is reported to put further emphasis on senior executives to meet sooner in an attempt to negotiate a settlement to disputes. It is also envisaged that parties will be able to choose their own Adjudicator Nominating Body as opposed to a shortlist being provided.
It is anticipated that the changes will reflect the Construction Playbook and will incorporate previously optional provisions that relate to collaborative working and other matters such as sustainability.
New Target Cost Contract
Finally, JCT will be introducing its own JCT Target Cost Contract which will comprise a main contract, sub-contract and guide. This contract is likely to be seen as an alternative to NEC ECC Option C.
The foregoing provides only outline detail at this stage, and we will be providing further updates and training in due course.