On 18 January 2016, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform published revised arrangements for procuring public works projects under the Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF). These result from a review by the Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC) of the Public Works Contracts; and recommendations from the Office of Government Procurement, following a stakeholder consultation in 2014. The revisions take effect from 4 April 2016 and are set out in Circular 01/16 ("Construction Procurement - revision of arrangements for the procurement of public works projects"). 

Revised requirements

Public Works Contracts PW-CF1 to PW-CF5 inclusive have been amended and related new tender forms and guidance notes published. Key changes include:

  • The pricing document on the employer-designed contract forms (PW-CF1, PW-CF3 and PW-CF5) must be a fully measured bill of quantities to an approved defined method of measurement. Inconsistencies between the pricing document and works requirements will be a compensation event in favour of the contractor.
  • A new procedure whereby contracting authorities may separately directly tender specialist works sub-contractors who are to be appointed by the contractor (as reserved specialists). 
  • New dispute resolution procedures under forms PW-CF1 to PW-CF4 including:
    • A project board for projects greater than €5m
    • A standing conciliator for projects with a value in excess of €10m

Implementation

Contracting authorities must use the new works contract forms where procuring works from 4 April 2016 unless the derogation below applies.

Where procuring construction services from 4 April 2016, the services forming the basis of the design team brief must reflect the procedures in the new contract forms. If tendered before 4 April 2016 with tender returns due after that date, contracting authorities should amend the scope of services and tender documents to reflect the new requirements.

From 8 January 2017 the previous contract forms should not be used without GCCC sanction.

Derogation

Contracting Authorities may use the previous works contract forms up to 8 January 2017 where:

  • Consultant service providers have been engaged before 4 April 2016
  • Consultant service provider tender return date is before 4 April 2016 and the services do not extend to the requirements of new contract forms

Conclusion

The new contract and tender forms are available on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s website. Contracting authorities, professionals and those involved on public sector construction projects should familiarise themselves with the various changes and implications for procuring works and services on public sector projects.