The RIBA Construction Contracts and Law Survey 2022 has again shown that roughly 1/3 projects start without a contract being in place:
- 65% signed before construction starts (yay)
- 32% between the start and end of construction (ahem)
- 2% after completion (oiks)
- 2% never signed (arggh).
This is like being on a hamster wheel (UK idiom) or groundhog day (US idiom).
Over a decade ago, David Mosey called the delay in signing a full contract a depressing convention of any construction procurement process [SCL paper 171].
He might have been echoing a decision of the UK Supreme Court in 2010, which said
The different decisions in the courts below and the arguments in this court demonstrate the perils of beginning work without agreeing the precise basis upon which it is to be done. The moral of the story is to agree first and to start work later.
A simple(r) contract process and a simple(r) contract content can massively improve the chances of getting your contract agreed before you start work.
Don’t sabotage a simple contract with an erratic process. Don’t stifle a simple process with complex content.
What should you do?
Simplify your content and processes until they are seamless and silky smooth… then you’ll become ridiculously easy to do business with.