JCT Standard forms have provided big benefits for employers and contractors alike for many years. They were specifically devised to meet procurement obligations and ensure risks were fairly apportioned between the parties.
The contracts can be adjusted to suit different requirements by selecting options and completing CPs (Contract Particulars). The forms were not generally designed to be amended during the course of a project. As a result a number of issues can arise when it comes to JCT amendments.
The biggest problem when amending a JCT is that it could result in risk being unfairly apportioned. The imbalance could put the employers or the contractors in an unfair position. This in turn could lead to costly disputes and disagreements that put the whole project at risk.
In addition to creating imbalances in the risk, incorrect JCT amendments could make the whole contract incoherent and/or inconsistent. This could also result in big issues and spell disaster for the project.
The JCT accepts that amendments are necessary at some points, particularly due to the fact the industry is always changing and each project is unique. They warn people of the importance of only amending parts of the contract that require it though. Focus should always be on ensuring that changes are minimal and don’t have a negative impact on other aspects of the agreement.
At Amison Dispute Resolutions we have a lot of experience with JCT amendments. We can help clients to avoid making mistakes when a change needs to be made, ensuring they don’t expose themselves to additional risks or the potential for disputes.
As a starting point we will look at whether an amendment is absolutely necessary. It is always better to avoid making changes to the standard provisions. If there is a better option or the change is not needed we will offer advice.
If you have any concerns of need our help please get in touch with our team.