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JCT, NEC 3 OR NEC4

When I first started navigating contractual law and applicable terms and clauses, I thought I was on the right track by reading everything. Alongside the endless weekends and evenings of studying I spent a lot of time listening and learning from a wise old old who is now a highly sought after QS.



So what's the differences and how do they affect those BPP work with?


JCT contracts are a series of contracts that are widely used in the construction industry in the United Kingdom. The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) is a non-profit organization that produces standard contracts for construction projects. These contracts are designed to be fair and balanced, and to provide a clear framework for the relationship between the parties involved in a construction project.

There are several different types of JCT contracts, each designed for a different type of project or procurement method. Some of the most commonly used JCT contracts include:

  1. JCT Standard Building Contract: This is a traditional contract that is designed for use on larger building projects, typically involving an architect and a main contractor. It includes provisions for design responsibility, variations, and extensions of time.

  2. JCT Design and Build Contract: This is a single contract that covers both the design and construction phases of a project. It is often used for fast-track projects, where the design and construction phases overlap.

  3. JCT Intermediate Building Contract: This is a simpler version of the JCT Standard Building Contract, designed for smaller projects where there is no architect involved.

  4. JCT Minor Works Contract: This is a simple contract that is designed for small-scale projects, such as refurbishments and maintenance work.

JCT contracts are designed to be fair to all parties involved in a construction project. They provide a clear framework for the relationship between the parties, and they include provisions for dealing with issues such as variations, delays, and defects. They also include provisions for resolving disputes, which can help to avoid costly and time-consuming legal proceedings.


NEC contracts are based on a spirit of mutual trust and collaboration, NEC Contracts facilitate the implementation of sound project management principles and practices.



  • 1986 Leading UK Project Management Consultant Martin Barnes was commissioned by the newly formed legal affairs panel of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to draft, ‘a radical new contract which would stimulate and not frustrate the application of good project management’.


  • 1991 A consultative draft of the first NEC contract, then known as the 'New Engineering Contract', was published, inviting feedback and collaboration in creating the final version.


  • 1993 The final version of the first 'New Engineering Contract' was published. Early adopters included British Airports Authority, National Power and Scottish Hydroelectric in the UK and public electricity utility Eskom in South Africa.


  • 1995 The second edition, called the NEC Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC), appeared two years later together with a new Professional Services Contract (PSC), Adjudicator's Contract (AC) and a back-to-back set of short forms and sub-contracts.


  • 2005 A decade of extensive international use followed, culminating in the development and launch of the NEC3 contract suite in 2005. The new generation offered increased flexibility, better control of risks and greater ease of use. This included the launch of digital versions of the contract, reflecting the increasingly digital nature of construction design and management. The family also grew again, adding the NEC3 Term Service Contract (TSC) for maintenance work and the NEC3 Framework Contract (FC) for letting packages of work over time.


  • 2006 In 2006, the Hong Kong government decided to trial the NEC3 on 30 pilot projects worth £1.2 billion to encourage collaborative working in the construction industry. The Fuk Man Road project was selected for the first NEC pilot project and the contract was awarded in 2009. The success of these led the Hong Kong government to adopt NEC3 as the default contract for its £7 billion a year public-sector works programme from 2015. .

  • 2010 Our suite was expanded further and joined in 2010 by a Supply Contract (SC).


  • 2013 The suite was updated and enlarged to 39 documents in April 2013, including a Professional Services Short Contract (PSSC) – which has been selected by the Association for Project Management as its standard form for appointing project managers – and an enhanced set of guidance documents. The NEC3 suite has been endorsed by governments and industry worldwide and has an unrivalled track record for delivering projects on time and on budget – including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games venues.


  • 2017 Twelve years on and with several hundred billion pounds more procurement under its belt, the contract suite’s next evolution NEC4 contract suite – was launched in 2017. A new NEC4 Design Build Operate Contract (DBO) and Alliance Contract (ALC) were added. The contracts are updated and streamlined to take into account consultation responses, user feedback, industry developments and emerging best practice, with improvements in flexibility, clarity and ease of administration.

  • 2021 The NEC4 suite was expanded with the addition of the Facilities Management Contracts. Produced in partnership with the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM), these contracts and their supporting documents enable the facilities management sector to offer more integrated and consistent procurement strategies, add value to the supply chain and develop stronger, more collaborative, relationships and ways of working.

So (if you are still reading or if you have scrolled to the end and already figured that here at BPP, we love to pay attention to the details so you don't have to. And would like to outsource the reading and finalising contract details to a virtual construction assistant, then please do send us a message and let us drive your business forward.



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