For those of you who use the JCT suite of contracts, you should note there are proposed changes to the suite coming later in the year. It looks as if many of those changes will reflect amendments that parties already incorporate by use of bespoke schedules of amendments. Whilst it's unlikely the changes will do away with the use of schedules entirely, it may help to reduce the number of changes needed and improve the "user-friendliness" of the documents.
The main changes include:
- adding an extension to Insurance Option C (insurance by the employer of existing structures and works to them) as an alternative solution for tenants and homeowners who may otherwise encounter difficulties in obtaining existing structures cover for their contractors;
- bringing the JCT suite up to date with recent legislation, for example, the CDM Regulations 2015 and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. There are also provisions to incorporate Building Information Modelling (BIM) requirements;
- amending the payment provisions to reflect the introduction of the Government's Fair Payment Charter (for more on this see here). The payment provisions will also be revised and simplified more generally;
- in the contracts for larger works, provision for contractors to provide performance bonds and/or parent company guarantees, reflecting common practice.
We understand that JCT will start issuing new versions of the documents in May.