Launch of NEC4

On 22 June 2017, the NEC launched their NEC4 suite, which included a new Design, Build and Operate Contract and a consultative version of an Alliance Contract.

The latest suite has been promoted as one of evolution rather than revolution. One of the key aims of NEC was to reduce over reliance on Z-Clauses. As a result, a number of provisions that are usually incorporated by way of Z-Clauses have been built into the NEC contracts as core or secondary options, for example, provisions for collateral warranties, bribery and corruption and assignment, to name a few.

Other key changes include making provision for:

  • consensual dispute resolution (prior to other formal processes) and dispute avoidance boards (which will be mandatory where the HGCRA 1996 does not apply);
  • a final assessment process, allowing for periodic reviews of the contractor's Defined Costs throughout the project to avoid major disputes at the end; and
  • allowing the Contractor to propose changes in Scope, to achieve cost savings, which could be shared between the Employer and Contractor.

We are undertaking a thorough review of the new NEC4 ECC and will be publishing a detailed article regarding the changes shortly.

The House of Commons Library publishes briefing paper on planning for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

On 13 June 2017, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper on Planning for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects ('NSIPs'). NSIPs are large scale developments (relating to energy, transport, water, or waste) which require “development consent” under the Planning Act 2008 (as amended).

The briefing paper looks at the following topics:

  • the legal framework for obtaining development consent for NSIPs;
  • National Policy Statements, which set out the national policy in relation to different categories of NSIPs;
  • the process of obtaining development consent for NSIPs; and
  • the National Infrastructure Commission (an independent body which aims to provide expert, impartial analysis of long-term infrastructure needs).

The Local Government Association publishes guide on the use of Dynamic Purchasing Systems

On 13 June 2017, the Local Government Association ('LGA') published its guide for local authorities on the use of Dynamic Purchasing Systems ('DPS') in the public sector.

A DPS is a form of electronic framework agreement, used exclusively by the public sector, to which new suppliers can be added at any time during the DPS’ validity.

DPSs aim to streamline procurement, reducing the amount of administrative work required and consequently saving time and money in the tender process.

The LGA’s guide follows a review, in conjunction with the National Advisory Group for Local Government Procurement, on the reasons for limited uptake of DPS. The guide provides case study examples and suggestions on when a DPS might be best used.