The JCT has recently published revised versions of its JCT Standard Building Contract, JCT Design and Build Contract, the JCT Minor Building Contract and their respective subcontracts. New versions of the JCT Intermediate Form, JCT Major Projects Form, JCT Constructing Excellence Form, JCT Prime Cost and JCT Measured Term Contract are set to follow so that by the end of August 2009 there will be a complete suite of amended contracts.

The amended documents will become known as the JCT 2005 edition, Revision 2, 2009.

Incorporation of the Achieving Excellence in Construction Initiative

The main purpose of Revision 2 is to add the principles adopted by the Office of Government Commerce in the Achieving Excellence in Construction Initiative; to simplify the payment provisions and introduce provisions for a retention bond; and to recognise the increasing importance of sustainability. The form of the contract remains substantially unchanged.

The JCT 2005 edition, Revision 2, 2009 - the main features

1. Achieving Excellence in Construction Initiative

The provisions which relate to the Achieving Excellence in Construction Initiative have been included in a new Part 2 of the Supplementary Provisions - the existing Supplementary Provisions moving to Part 1. The general thrust of the amendments is to reflect good management practice. Their inclusion as Supplementary Provisions means that they are optional provisions since the Employer can select in the Contract Particulars which (if any) of the provisions are to apply.

The new Supplementary Provisions include:

  • Acceleration Quotation - to provide for the submission of quotations for the cost of accelerated completion by the Contractor should the Employer wish to investigate that possibility.
  • Collaborative working - provisions designed to develop a culture of collaborative behaviour generally and specifically so that health and safety becomes of paramount concern to everybody involved in the project. New provisions are included for the Contractor to comply with non-statutory codes of practice (in addition to existing provisions requiring compliance with statutory requirements) and for the provision of on-site health and safety induction training and regular follow-up training.
  • Cost savings and value improvements - provisions to enable the Contractor to propose changes to the works or to the programme which may benefit the Employer through reduced cost of works or reduced life cycle costs.
  • Performance indicators and monitoring - to enable the Employer to assess the Contractor’s performance against agreed performance targets.
  • Good faith negotiations - early notification of matters that may give rise to a dispute to enable good faith negotiations at senior executive level to resolve the matter.

2. Payment and retention

The revised payment provisions include:

  • New interim payments applications - after practical completion applications to be made at two monthly intervals rather than as and when further amounts are ascertained.
  • Retention bond - in lieu of retention deduction, a new form of retention bond is included.

3. Sustainability

The short sustainability provisions are contained in the new Supplementary Provisions (referred to above):

  • Sustainable development and environmental considerations - new provisions to enable the Contractor to suggest “economically viable amendments” to the works which if instructed may result in an improved environmental performance; and to provide information regarding the environmental impact of the supply and use of materials and goods selected by the Contractor.

Finally, a brief mention of the rest:

  • Revision of notice provisions and encouragement to agree a communications protocol at the outset. There are new provisions requiring all notices and other communications to be in writing. The communications protocol is intended to assist with the information flow particularly in relation to electronic communications; regular updating of relevant contact names and email addresses in the protocol will be required.
  • Termination for Contractor default - increased notice period from 14 days to 21 days is now required in the case of Contractor default
  • Mediation provisions - each party to give “serious consideration” to any request to refer a matter to mediation.