There are on-going changes afoot with some of the standard documents used in the property construction industry. These include:

  • The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has recently published its 2017 forms of professional services agreements. Changes include the introduction of joint obligations for an early warning process in relation to matters either party considers likely to affect the provision of the services and additional arrangements for co-ordinating and managing risk in respect of costs or delay. Provision is also now made for a Building Information Modelling protocol to apply, which reflects the increasing use of BIM throughout the sector. The documents remain 'consultant friendly' with some provisions, which are common in the market, not included; the wording covering, for example, IP rights, liability and provision of collateral warranties may not suit your requirements. The advice to an employer is therefore to think carefully before using these documents in unamended form.
  • The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) continues to launch its 2016 suite of contracts, with various further contracts having been released on 30 March. JCT issued new contractor and sub-contractor forms of standard Collateral Warranty at the end of last year which are intended to be used with the JCT forms of building contract. The text has not been substantively revised, so amendments that beneficiaries have sought in the past will still need to be added. Be warned that the number of 'default' positions has been increased, so care should be taken to ensure that each Collateral Warranty reflects your particular circumstances.
  • NEC4 will be published on 22 June. This will be the latest iteration of the set of NEC contracts produced by the Institution of Civil Engineers. It will include some new contracts and it is expected that the existing documents will incorporate and promote emerging best practice, rather than face a radical re-design. The indications are that the emphasis on project and risk management in NEC contracts will be enhanced in these new forms.