New JCT contract promotes integration and collaborative working

Designed to promote collaborative and integrated working, the new JCT/Constructing Excellence contract was formally launched by Sir Michael Latham earlier this month (March 2007). This new contract form has been developed by JCT and Constructing Excellent and aims to provide a single contract form to regulate all the relationships involved in a project — making the delivery of the project the joint mission of the entire project team. Sir Michael said, ‘The contract is brief, it is in plain English, it is user friendly, and it is perfectly understandable and practical. ‘I hope it will be widely used. This is a great industry. It needs to work together, not separately. Day by day, it is increasingly doing so — but, believe you me, there is still a long way to go. ‘We have started on the best-practice road, but we are certainly not there yet. Congratulations to the JCT and Constructing Excellence for helping us along that road.’The new contract is based on trust and fairness. The over-riding principle, which is stated early in the contract, is collaboration. Purchaser and supplier should have the intention to work with each other and all other project participants in a co-operative and collaborative manner, in good faith and in the spirit of good faith and in the spirit of mutual trust and respect. Using a series of bilateral contracts within a common framework, the contract has the flexibility to be used whether or not the supplier is to design, whether or not the works are to be carried out in sections and regardless whether a target cost or lump sum is required. It can also be used with or without the project-team agreement, which is designed for use where members of the project team wish to enter into a multi-party pain/gain arrangement in respect of the project as a whole. It can be used by the whole supply chain for procuring construction works and construction-related services for a project — including the provision of professional services, whether public or private sector. The contract was applied for 12 buildings for the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency. Joanna Davis, estates modernisation programme manger for VOSA, said, ‘Using this contract as a pilot, VOSA has achieved higher-quality, better control of risk and a true collaborative working environment. Our delivery of 12 buildings on time and within budget shows just how well the contract can work.’ The contract is published by Sweet & Maxwell and can be found at the web address below.
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