JCT release the 2016 Design and Build Contract form

November has seen the launch of the highly anticipated 2016 Design and Build Contract form by the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT). This new form is considered to be of exceptional importance as it incorporates both elements of legislative driven changes as well as those devised by the industry itself. From our perspective as one of the leading resolution practices for JCT Amendments, we believe the new form successfully builds on the Short Form Subcontracts released during July of this year.

In respect of the legislation driven elements, the new Design and Build Contract form successfully makes the HGRA (The Construction Act) notice requirements much clearer in terms of importance. The new form also integrates the aspects of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. This is a welcome development as it removes the requirement for the amendment forms introduced to address it during March 2015.

Many perceive the functionality of JCT forms as being focused on ensuring legislative compliance is adhered to in contracts. Whilst this is a true and important aspect, it is also the case that market driven trends are included. There are many aspects of the 2016 Design and Build Contract form which reflect this being the case.

One of the most visible examples of the above is the C1 (Replacement Schedule) provision. This caters for the movement towards a more flexible insurance arrangement in respect of existing structures. This accommodation is particularly important when, as is increasingly coming to be common in the industry, the employer or main contractor is not the building or structure owner.

It would be ideal if the new 2016 Design and Build Contract form were to get an expedited adoption across the construction sector. The practicalities of doing so, however, make it virtually impossible. We anticipate that jobs still presently being tendered will be based on the previous forms, with the New Year seeing a transitional move to uptake of the new.

There will be many challenges to face in respect of this transitional period and the final adoption of the new forms. We, as has always been the case, are the people known and trusted to successfully evaluate and carry out all JCT Amendment requirements required for all versions of construction contracts.