The New Zealand Construction Industry Council has commissioned a review of NZS 3910:2013 Conditions of contract for building and civil engineering construction (NZS3910), which is being led by Standards New Zealand. The review is intended to ensure commonly used standard conditions of contract reflect the current legislative environment and construction sector environment – and to help limit an increasing proliferation of special conditions that have been observed in the industry.

A number of working groups have been established to consider and debate proposed reforms. A revised standard is expected for publication in late July 2023 with several issues being flagged as being important to the overall review:

  • The role of the engineer to the contract;
  • Programme / extension of time provisions;
  • Variations;
  • Early contractor involvement;
  • Collaboration; and
  • Disputes

Industry consultation is expected on the proposed revisions in 2023.

Recommended Special Conditions

As an interim step pending publication of the revised standard, the Review Committee has made available recommended Special Conditions that may be incorporated into Schedule 2: Special Conditions of Contract – Other Conditions of Contract of NZS 3910.

The recommended Special Conditions address five principal areas (not requiring public consultation) including legislative updates since NZS3910 was first established:

  • Updating clause 5.7 to reflect obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015;
  • Amending clause 5.11.1 and 5.11.10 dealing with compliance with laws (specifically adding reference to secondary legislation and instruments), in light of some lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • Updating the advance notification clause in 5.21 to clarify that the Principal (via the Engineer) as well as the Engineer and Contract shall notify the others if they become aware of matters which are likely to materially alter the Contract Price, delay the completion of the Contract Works, or result in a breach of statutory duty;
  • Including an addition clause 7.2 covering the contractor’s indemnity and liability limit;
  • Amending special conditions 8.5 and 8.9 to address the impact on public liability insurance clauses of the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977 being repealed.

The recommended Special Conditions are now available to those who use NZS3910. They are freely available from Standards New Zealand’s website shop.