The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) has confirmed that the current JCT standard forms of contract are to be amended to comply with the changes to Part II of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 introduced by Part 8 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. The new “JCT 2011” editions will require users to purchase new contracts, so the existing 2005 suite will be superseded.
The JCT intends to publish what it terms its "principal contracts" in advance of the effective date of the new legislation so as to allow users to become familiar with the new provisions. The effective date is currently anticipated as being October 2011, but this still requires official confirmation once the amendments to the Scheme for Construction Contracts are finalised. The contracts are likely to specify the dates on which payment will be due, allow payee notices but require payer notices, allow the employer to nominate the architect, engineer, project manager or contract administrator or employer's agent as the "specified person" giving payment notices and possibly also include a fall-back position regarding payment, in the event that the parties do not serve any notices at all.
Earlier editions of the JCT will have to be amended if they are to comply with the new legislation, but similarly the new version will not be suitable for use before the operative date. Whilst transitional provisions in the legislation mean that the existing editions will still be appropriate provided they are entered into prior to the effective date, consideration needs to be given to the version used where contracts are anticipated being negotiated and entered into this autumn.