In my column for Construction Manager Magazine, I have provided a series of tips for anyone reading, writing or reviewing construction contracts.
What should you do?
- Use your contracts as tools to help you complete the project, not as an expensive paper-weight [never shove your contracts in a drawer, October 2016]
- Focus on creating contracts with clear objective output-based standards (not vague inputs like reasonable skill and care). We have to know what success looks like and define it if we want projects to be a success. It will be critical for smart contracts [why construction is like doing the hokey-cokey, May 2017]
- Your contract process requires a pre-determined ‘walk away point’ so that you don’t start a project without a fair deal [contracts, like climbing require an escape route, June 2017]
- Create contracts that are based on trust, that share risks, limit the contractor’s liability and define project success [fit for the future or pandering to the past? July 2017]
- Appoint expert contract administrators to prevent disputes [hunting for a superhero, August 2017]
- Avoid contracts that are inelegant, clumsy or badly drafted [for clarity’s sake, keep contracts simple, October 2017]
In my fortnightly newsletter (subscribe here), I focused on tips each edition on spotting showstoppers, building trust, avoiding disputes, and keeping contracts simple. My top tips from 2017 for each of those topics are:
- Showstoppers: delete showstoppers and jargon from your contract so you know what you are signing up to [read more]
- Trust: use a simple clear contract and promise high but achievable standards [read more]
- Disputes: create contracts you can read, understand and use [read more]
- Simplicity: keep editing your contracts until they are clear and simple, and delete any terms you have copied [read more]
What’s your top tip for better contracts?