On the 18 January 2016 Circular 01/16 was published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The circular sets out a summary of the changes made to the public works contracts PW-CF1 to PW-CF5, and the implementing measures. The new forms of contract (published 22 January 2016) will have effect, in the majority of cases, from 4 April 2016, for the procurement of public works projects. 

A review of the Public Works Contracts was carried out in 2014. Following this review a number of recommendations were made and the first three amendments are now being implemented. They relate to:

  1. Mandatory production of a full measured bill of quantities to an approved method of measurement. Inconsistencies between the bill of quantities and the works requirements for projects using public works contact forms PW-CF1, PW-CF3 and PW-CF5, will now be a compensation event;
  2. A new procedure permitting the direct tendering of specialists works packages, by the Employer, whereupon the Contractor will enter into a sub-contract with the respective successful specialist; and
  3. The introduction of an informal dispute resolution process at senior management level and a standing conciliator for pre-dispute management purposes for contracts over a set value.

Implementing Measures

Contracting Authorities are required to use the new forms of contract from the 4 April 2016, unless they come within the exception below, but are encouraged to use the new forms straightaway.

Where tender documents for consultancy services issue after 4 April 2016, the scope of services outlined in the briefing documents and in the schedule to the public works form of consultant appointment must refer to the services required to comply with the new forms of contract.

Where tender documents for consultancy services issue before 4 April 2016, but the tender return date is after 4 April 2016 the scope of services should be similarly amended and in some cases an extension to the tender period may be appropriate.

Exception

Contracting Authorities may, up until 8 January 2017, use the previous versions of the public works contracts, either where:-

  • Consultants are engaged before 4 April 2016 or
  • The deadline for receipt of tenders for consultants is prior to 4 April 2016 and their scope of services does not extend to the requirements of the new forms of contract, 

However, the previous versions may not be used in any tender where the deadline for receipt of tenders from the works contractor is after 8 January 2017 unless sanctioned by the Government Contracts Committee for Construction.