JCT 2024: The New Suite

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Update – the JCT have now announced that the JCT Design and Build Contract 2024, related Guide and Tracked Change version will be released on 17 April and are currently available to pre-order.

Many of those involved in the construction industry will be very familiar with the Joint Contracts Tribunal’s (JCT) 2016 suite of contracts. However, there have been significant developments in case law and legislation affecting the industry since 2016, as well as national and global events, which have prompted the JCT to refresh its contracts. 

We are expecting the JCT to release its new suite of contracts at some point in 2024. Whilst the final amendments have not yet been released, the JCT has given us some indication of what we can expect to see. In this article, we reveal these changes.

Modernising and streamlining

The contracts are likely to be modernised through the use of gender-neutral language and the flexibility to send notices electronically. Execution by electronic signature is also likely to be a feature.

Fluctuation provisions

Fluctuation provisions will be moved to an online document to increase prominence and accessibility.  The JCT has also launched a Fluctuations Hub to give guidance on its fluctuations provisions.  

Extensions of Time

New relevant events are likely to be added, or existing relevant events extended, to cover epidemics, unexploded bombs, contamination and asbestos. In addition, the period of time for assessments of interim extensions of time is likely to be reduced from 12 weeks to 8 weeks, from receipt of the Contractor’s particulars.

Loss and expense

We anticipate the addition of optional grounds for the contractor to claim loss and expense, such as epidemics and the exercise of statutory powers by the UK Government which directly affect the works. The clause dealing with antiquities is also likely to be extended to deal with unexploded bombs, contamination and asbestos.

Resolving disputes, arbitration and adjudication

Parties are likely to be able to choose a nominating body or appointer of their choice, as opposed to the current short list, although we understand the list of bodies will be retained (albeit amended). Supplemental Provision 10, which requires ‘direct good faith negotiations between senior executives’, is likely to become a mandatory, rather than optional, provision, reflecting the generally accepted benefits by the industry of the avoidance or early resolution of disputes. 

Legislative changes and case law

Recent legislation and case law is likely to be reflected in the updated suite. Changes are likely to reflect:

  • Building Safety Act 2022 and its secondary legislation: for further information please see our Building Safety Hub.
  • Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020: to include the two additional insolvency grounds.
  • Post-termination accounts.
  • The Supreme Court’s decision in Triple Point Technology Inc v PTT Public Company Ltd 2021 which clarified the standard position that liquidated damages clauses apply to the period up to termination of the contractor’s employment under a contract, but not to any period thereafter, unless there is clear wording that suggests that the parties intended there to be a different approach. 

Future proofing

The updated suite is likely to take into consideration the UK Government Construction Playbook and promote safety, sustainable development, collaborative working and environmental considerations.

New target cost contract 

We expect to see the introduction of a new target cost contract, with accompanying sub-contract and guide. The target cost contract is likely to be an alternative to the NEC Option C ECC form of contract (the NEC’s form of target cost contract).

A further update will be provided once the 2024 suite has been released. For more information, please contact the construction and infrastructure team.

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