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The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) is renowned for providing standard forms of contract to the construction industry, tailored to meet a wide range of project requirements, with the current suite of JCT Contracts consisting of over 25 different contract types, categorized into the 12 key categories.

In this article, Phil Caton considers their essential features and potential applications for the different types of JCT Contract.

Standard Building Contract

This contract type is ideal for large or complex projects, where detailed contract provisions are essential. The employer provides design through a selected team, and the contractor executes the work based on these designs. The employer also provides specifications for the work at the tender stage, and the contract can accommodate working in sections.

Design and Build Contract

This contract is also ideal for large or complex projects but unlike the standard building contract, the contractor carries out both design and construction. The degree of the contractor's design involvement can vary, from merely completing a provided concept to conceiving and finishing the design from scratch. Contract administration is usually via an agent appointed by the employer.

Intermediate Building Contract

Used for projects requiring conventional skills without complex installations, the employer provides the design, and drawings or work schedules to specify the work at the tender stage. Design of specific parts can be handled by the contractor where a “contractor’s design portion” may be required.

Minor Works Building Contract

This contract is suitable for smaller, simple projects. The employer provides the design and the scope of the work, but the design of specific parts can be handled by the contractor if required. It isn't suited for complex projects requiring detailed control procedures or specialist work.

Major Project Construction Contract

Tailored for large-scale projects with significant works, this contract demands an experienced contractor able to take on more risk. The contractor handles the design and completes the works. Novation agreements are often implemented to maintain design continuity.

Management Building Contract

Ideal for large projects requiring flexibility and early site access. The employer provides the design, and the management contractor oversees separate works contracts, allowing greater control over design.

Construction Management Contract

This contract separates design, management, and construction responsibilities. The employer provides the design and enters into separate contracts for construction. A construction manager is appointed to manage the project on behalf of the employer.

JCT-CE Contract

Designed for integrated working practices and collaboration. It can be used at all stages of the supply chain, from main contractors to consultants. The contract promotes risk management and performance indicators.

Measured Term Contract

Suitable for regular maintenance, minor works, and improvements carried out by a single contractor over a specific period. Pricing is based on an agreed Schedule of Rates for each distinct 'Order' of work.

Prime Cost Building Contract

Ideal for urgent or alteration work where full designs aren't available at project outset. The contractor is paid the Prime Cost of the work and a contract fee. The employer bears a higher cost risk due to the nature of the contract.

Repair & Maintenance Contract

Primarily for local authorities or employers who place regular small to medium-sized contracts. Pricing and payment structure are flexible and there's no provision for a contract administrator.

Home Owner Contracts

Designed for individuals seeking the protection of a contract when appointing consultants or contractors for building work. These contracts provide clarity of obligations, legal certainty, and straightforward project management tools.  The home owner contract is much shorter and less detailed that other forms of JCT contract making it less suitable where the home project is complex or expensive.

Speak to our JCT Contract solicitors

Choosing the right contract for your construction project is crucial to ensuring smooth execution, minimising potential disputes, and achieving your project goals. The specific terms and conditions of your chosen JCT contract can profoundly impact project risk allocation, cost, and timeline.

As construction law experts, we are well-equipped to guide you through this intricate process. We can assist you in identifying the most appropriate form of contract, taking into account the unique attributes of your project. Furthermore, we offer expert drafting services, ensuring the contract is structured to reflect your priorities and protect your interests.

If you need legal advice you can rely on, please contact our team by completing our online enquiry firm or contact Phil Caton directly by clicking here

Key Contact

Phil Caton

Phil Caton

Construction Law Partner

Phil is a Partner at the firm who specialises in both transactional and contentious construction matters.

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