How do you choose a contract as the right one for your project? Generally, my advice when discussing contract choice at a workshop is that there is rarely only ONE contract which will be right for your project. Factors such as the nature of the project (JCT, IChemE or MF/1), the location of the site (JCT, NEC or FIDIC), the procurement route (traditional or D&B), the payment mechanism (lump sum or remeasurement), and the role of collaborative working (PPC2000 or NEC) all act as primary or ‘hygiene’ factors.
The final choice may depends as much on these factors as something more prosaic like personal preference and familiarity:
The recommendation of which standard form of building contract should be used for a particular project will usually come down to the consultant’s personal preference and his previous experience. Such a subjective basis for choice seems to me to be entirely reasonable: if, as a contract administrator, a professional person likes and understands the way a particular standard form works, then, unless there is a very good reason why he should not use it in a particular instance, it seems to me be to everybody’s advantage if he recommends that form for use on his projects.
JCT Minor Works
The court was being asked to consider whether JCT MW 98 (soon JCT MW 2016) was appropriate for a specific project. It took into account these factors:
- the advantage to the employer as the contract did not include a right for the contractor to claim loss and expense when delayed (unlike the rest of the JCT suite)
- the comparative brevity and clarity of its terms (giving it ‘a major advantage over a number of other rather more prolix [JCT] standards forms…’)
- the Guidance Notes from JCT (at the time, these stated a particular value of works for which each form was suitable – this reference to contract value has since been deleted)
- whether the standard form was frequently used for similar projects.
What are the factors you use to decide whether a particular standard contract is suitable for your project?