Dysfunctional contracts don’t speak our language

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  1. The deficiencies are noted, but then what is the way forward? Presumably the way forward needs to address the issue of BIM on all projects as well?
    Are you suggesting a new form of contract, or new relationships?

  2. Great article.
    This issue is not only a problem of the language being used and the target markets (“contracts for engineers by engineers”, yet they are so often used as overriding contracts on large scale mixed use developments which involve a lot of professionals and trades other than engineers!), but also of the fluidity of the industry. With the massive integration of tech into our industry now, the pending involvement of robotics, HR, Fiscal Responsibility and H&S law to name a few, contracts need to be malleable enough to adapt themselves to the constant and rapid changes. In my mind, the more simple and clear a contract the better. We cannot spell out every eventuality nor possibility. We can set basic, simple and clear rules which cover all (I hope!).

  3. The problem generally is that the people (Client’s and Contractors)that really matter have little or no involvement in the drafting. One of the few exceptions is the CRINE now Logic suite (however take up is not that which was anticipated as it was preaching to an industry that already had pretty good and balanced/ appropriate risk bespoke contracts). CCCWks and GC Works contracts as they envisaged and dealt with the Client (their consultants) doing something wrong (not just the contractor) and how it was dealt with and settled. Unfortunately the PSA and Central Claims that dealt with is long gone.

    Of the standard forms for design and build probably the best is the IChemE Red Book (doesn’t need much if any changes to use for buildings or civils) includes a schedule of items with limited lives which not only makes ‘fit for purpose’ fairer and clearer but makes TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) tender evaluation, in preference to cheapest wins, possible.

    All contract terms in tender packages need to be tested on a ‘what if’ (yes you can cover almost every eventuality) basis and adjustments (in the text not as special conditions) made by a construction contract specialist and checked by a lawyer.

    I trust this helps all our CIOB members and their clients/employers.


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